What exactly is the difference between assault and battery?
In Illinois assault and battery are two completely different crimes. There is no single crime known as “assault and battery.”
The Difference Between Assault And Battery
Assault v battery: Assault is when I tell you I’m gonna beat you. Battery is when I actually beat you.
The two offenses are related but don’t necessarily have to occur together.
The Essence Of A Battery
The Illinois criminal charge of battery is listed under 720 ILCS 5/12-3. The law says,
A battery is when one causes harm, usually by making contact or contact that is insulting or provoking in nature, like a slap across the face.
The essence of a battery is some kind of unwanted physical contact.
The Essence of An Assault
The Illinois criminal charge of assault is listed under 720 ILCS 5/12-1. It says:
An assault occurs when one puts another person in apprehension of receiving a battery. No actual contact needs to be made for an assault to occur.
The essence of an assault is being put in fear of getting hit in a harmful way.
Battery Class A Misdemeanor
A simple battery in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor. See the chart above to see the maximum jail time and fine for this battery misdemeanor.
However, aggravated forms of battery also exist in the code. See the Illinois Aggravated Battery statute.
Assault Class C Misdemeanor
A simple assault in Illinois is a Class C Misdemeanor. See the chart above to see the maximum jail time and fine for this offense.
However, aggravated forms of assault also exist in the code. See the Illinois Aggravated Assault statute.
These Are Misdemeanor Offenses
See the chart below for the sentencing ranges associated with a battery and an assault in Illinois:
|Class||Penalty Range||Maximum Fine|
|A||less than 1 year||not to exceed $2,500|
|B||not more than 6 mths||not to exceed $1,500|
|C||not more than 30 days||not to exceed $1,500|
Example Of An Assault And A Battery
If your neighbor shakes his fist in your face during an argument you just suffered an assault even though no physical contact was made.
Similarly, if the same neighbor sucker punches you in the head as you turn to leave, you definitely were battered even though no assault took place.
And of course,
your neighbor can threaten to punch you, essentially assault you, then actually punch you, thus committing a battery against you as well.
The two crimes can and often do occur together, but under the Illinois criminal code assault and battery are two unique and specific crimes.
Example Of An Assault
A common form of an assault that has nothing to do with a battery consists of being shown a weapon.
For example, say now that your neighbor is angry with you because your hedges are bleeding over into his property. When he comes to tell you about it he insists you cut your hedges.
Then before leaving he says to you, “I don’t want to have to take care of things myself.” As he says this he opens his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband.
This is considered an assault.
Even though he never touches you or takes the gun out, the implication is he’ll use it if he doesn’t get what he wants.