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Assault and battery: Two charges merged together

The terms “assault and battery” are almost always used together. That is why many people group them into the same category and charge.

It is true that these charges are frequently combined, but they are not the same. And it is critical for individuals to be aware of the difference between these two, especially if they face criminal charges.

What is the difference?

The main difference between these two charges is:

  • Assault is an action that causes someone to fear physical harm, including an attempt or threat of harm
  • Battery involves actually harming someone physically

The supposed threat and the act of harm often occur together, which is why it is so common to see assault and battery combined together in charges.

No matter the differences, the charges are serious

Many people facing the threat of criminal charges in North Carolina might not be concerned with the difference between these two terms under the law. Yet, they should understand them. Since they are separate charges, they often have separate penalties. If individuals face these compounded charges, then they could face compounded penalties as well.

Charges of simple assault or assault and battery are often misdemeanors. However, individuals should not overlook even misdemeanor charges of assault. Additionally, many factors could escalate these charges into a felony, including:

  • The use of a weapon
  • Causing serious injury
  • Harm to law enforcement officers
  • Assault in the process of another crime

The penalties individuals could face are serious, and having such charges on one’s record can create significant challenges for their future. Regardless of the charge, it is essential to understand the potential consequences and fight the charges as soon as possible.