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Examples of Assault and Battery Crimes


The legal definition of assault and battery is fairly broad, and can include many types of violent or potentially violent crimes. Here are the basic definitions of assault and battery:

There does not need to be physical contact for an assault to occur. In fact, there may only need to be a reasonable perception of harm by the plaintiff to be considered an unlawful act, even if harm was not even a possibility. A good example of assault without actual bodily injury is when someone uses a realistic toy gun to threaten someone. If the toy gun is realistic enough, it is classified as an assault and is prosecutable by your personal injury lawyer.

Battery is when someone is actually physically touched. A battery may include any willful or intentional violent, painful, harmful, or offensive touching against the accuser’s will. But, the battery does not have to be the result of direct contact, as long as the person causes the battery. Similar to assault, an act does not have to include physical harm to be considered battery. At first, that may seem puzzling, but take spitting as an example.

While there may be some variances, state penal codes are generally similar in regards to defining what assault and battery is. For example, the California Penal Code, Section 240 states that an assault is “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” Section 242 states defines battery, which is said to be “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

Sticking with California as an example, assault is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and six months in prison for crimes committed against private citizens. When the crime involves employees of the government (police, fireman, animal control officers, etc.) the fine limit is bumped up to $2,000 and the sentence to a one-year maximum.

The sentencing rules get more complicated when the act of assault and battery is more severe. Here are some examples of assault and battery, and n real-life case of each:

Compared to other examples of assault and battery, spitting is a minor act. But it can still be a criminal act.

Example case: In 2007, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that intentionally spitting on another person qualifies as “simple assault.” The court unanimously affirmed a Washington DC man’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 113(a)(5) for spitting in another man’s face on the grounds of a Veterans Administration hospital.

Jeffrey Paul Lewellyn was found guilty of committing simple assault and was sentenced to two years of probation, 50 hours of community service and a $10 special assessment.

They are fairly common. Often, fights result in nothing more than a few cuts and bruises. Sometimes it’s because nobody pursues legal action, and sometimes it’s because legal action is unrealistic. When two parties enter into a fight voluntarily, there is little chance that either person could hire a personal injury lawyer and win monetary damages. But, sometimes fights are very prosecutable as assault and battery charges.

Fights are more common when you’re in high school. These days, kids need to understand that their tempers are going to bring on consequences heavier than being grounded by mom and dad. Take the following 2009 case for example.

Example case: Two Belleville, Missouri high school students were charged with felony counts of aggravated battery September 18, 2009. The charges were brought for the beating of a 17-year-old on a school bus. This case grabbed national headlines for the alleged race motive of the attacks (the attackers were black, the victim white.)

Domestic violence
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly two in three female victims of violence knew their attacker, often even related to them. And almost six times as many women are victimized by a boyfriend or husband (18 percent) as those victimized by a stranger (3 percent).

Example case: Maybe the most famous domestic violence case in the last couple of years involved R&B singers and couple Chris Brown and Rihanna. Brown assaulted Rihanna in an argument February 8, 2009.

Brown was convicted of assault and battery on June 22, and was sentenced to five years of probation and 180 days of community service. As part of his sentence, Brown was required to complete a 12-month domestic violence counseling program.

Rape - Assault and battery doesn’t get anymore personal than rape. Even when the person survives the violent sexual attack, they are left with a lifetime of emotional scars.

Example case: Mike Tyson was one of the most fearsome heavyweight boxers in history. But that all came crashing down when he was charged with raping a beauty pageant contestant. Tyson was given a sentence of 10 years, six in prison and four on probation,  but was released in March 1995 after serving just three years.

If you have been assaulted and need a personal injury lawyer, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. can help you find the right attorney for your legal needs.
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