Crime of Assault and Crime of Battery Research Essay

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Crime and Punishment

Crime is an unlawful act that requires punishment, which is typically in the form of a fine, incarceration, or societal condemnation. A criminal act is harmful to the entire community in addition to the victim. However, a civil wrong (a tort) is a case brought against someone that calls for restitution. (Travis, 2012). Illegal actions can be categorized as either criminal offenses, civil wrongs, or both.

Assault and Battery

According to Berien (2011), an assault is an attempt to physically harm a person, and in some cases, it also includes making threats to the victim. Also, some scholars define it merely as an intentional attempt of using force and violence to harm or injure another person. Simply, it is said that assault is an attempt of hurting an individual with no actual harming, that is, "attempted battery". For example, someone raises their fist, approaches a woman and runs after her but does not touch her. According to Saylor Foundation (2007), battery is a deliberate act of harming a person without their approval. The two crimes are charged together since assault is an act of threatening to harm and battery is the act of injury. The crime of battery does not necessarily require a victim to be grievously injured or outraged. Any form touching a person is considered disrespectful and justifiable. For instance, if a woman pours a jug of boiled water on someone else, this could be a battery. Moreover, there are some other classic instances of battery that do not result in injury or pain. For example, a perpetrator may spit on someone else. Assault and battery crimes bear few disparities and similarities (Berien, 2011).

Similarities and Differences

The following are the similarities between the two; first, both are intentional torts, that is, the perpetrator gets engaged knowingly. Secondly, the two involve self-defense; where the victim tries his or her best to protect themselves from attack either by running to safety or counter attacking the perpetrator. On the other hand, the two bear several differences which include; assault is mainly threatening while battery is primarily causing harm. Additionally, threat of harm is sufficient to constitute assault since no physical injury or harm is necessary. However, for a battery crime, physical contact is compulsory. Secondly, it is simple to substantiate the offense of battery instead of an assault. This is because physical evidence can be traced from the victim. Saylor Foundation (2007) outlines that a perpetrator who is punished for battery can also be charged with assault, conversely, an assaulter is not necessarily charged with battery.

Assault/Battery Crime Scenario

A man unexpectedly jumps in front of a woman who is walking alone late at night, and drags her into an alley. The assailant hits the victim and tears her clothes. Luckily, the victim manages to strike the assaulter using a stone and safely escapes. The jury responsible for the region where the scenario occurred should consider man's action as assault but charge it as a battery (Berien, 2011). At first, the man holds the woman and drags her into an alley which causes fear without harming her. Additionally, the act of tearing her clothes increases her fear, but it does not harm. However, as said earlier, sometimes crime of assault and battery crime are subjected to the similar punishment depending on the seriousness of the assault (Travis, 2012). In this scenario, everyone can figure out what was likely to happen if the victim did not defend herself by hitting the assaulter with a rock. Probably, something worse could have happened. Also, some scholars argue that any action of touch should be handled as battery crime despite absence of physical injury to the victim. Consequently, the situation should be charged with battery crime.

Consensual Touching

In the scenario given above, if the man approached the woman and asked her if she wanted an escort since it was late at night, and the woman accepted but later the man dragged her to pass through an alley, it would then constitute consensual touching. Consensual means that an act performed or happened with the consent of all the parties involved (Travis, 2012).

False Imprisonment

Sometimes, the victim may be grasped without his or her consent. False imprisonment is a situation where an individual is confined without his or her will and their movement restrained. Also, it is a situation where the victim held mistakenly believes that the persons holding them possess legal authority to suppress them (Travis, 2012). This scenario is viewed in another dimension of false imprisonment. The assaulter in the illustration drags the woman into alley where he restricts her movement in a way that she cannot access the entrance she used to get there. Besides, the other end of the exit may be closed thus limiting her freedom of movement. A person alleging false imprisonment may file a petition for damages for the intrusion with her freedom of movement. If one is convicted of false imprisonment, he or she can face lengthy jail sentence, fine or both (Travis, 2012). If the situation was consensual, the jury might still find the basis to convict the attacker. No one, even a parent or spouse, has legal rights to shackle someone's movement. According to California penal code, false imprisonment is an illegal violation of the personal liberty of another and can be charged with up to $1000USD and/or one-year imprisonment.

False Imprisonment versus Kidnapping

Saylor Foundation (2007) explains that many people usually mistake false imprisonment for kidnapping. Despite the similarities in the two crimes, they remain different. Kidnapping involves the act of moving an individual from one place to another and restraining them. On the contrary, false imprisonment transpires when one restrains someone from exploiting their freedom of movement even without moving the victim from one place to another (Travis, 2012). An individual whose demeanor relates to untrue and unproven imprisonment is likely to be inculpated for executing the kidnapping, since a similar criterion of supervision may offer solid basis for both. However, kidnapping is more critical since it requires the facts to be shown, such as the evidence of the removal of an individual from one place to another. The act of kidnapping is atrocious compared to false imprisonment. Often, false imprisonment is termed as a partial defense to abduction because of the minimal sentencing options. False imprisonment does not involve movement and has a lower level of intent (Travis, 2012).

Engagement Scenario

According to Saylor Foundation (2007), if the woman and the attacker share a romantic relationship, and then the man drags her into an alley to talk, it is necessary for the victim to be alert in case of anything mischievous. However, she is not supposed to involve violence. Concerning the actions of the woman "slapping the man", the man would have no otherwise other than to defend himself. Nonetheless, the attacker should renounce attacking the woman if the woman terminates the violent act (Berien, 2011).


Criminal acts involve crimes that harm an individual as well as the community. Legally, offenders are punished through legal imprisonment and fine payment. Crime offenses are divided into various categories where every crime is punished independently.


Berien, T. (2011). Section of assault and battery. A Selection of Cases on the Law of Torts, 1-18. doi:10.4159/harvard.9780674289352.c4

Saylor Foundation (2007). | Free and open online courses for people everywhere, Introduction to criminal law. Retrieved from

Travis, L. F. (2012). Introduction to criminal justice. Burlington, MA: Taylor and Francis Ltd.

July 15, 2023

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