In Massachusetts, a person can be charged with an Assault, a Battery, or an Assault And Battery (A&B).
The Assault is the crime of threatening a person with physical force, while the Battery is the act of making physical contact with the victim. The definition of an Assault & Battery (A&B), on the other hand, involves a single crime that includes the crime of threatening a person (Assault) together with the act of making physical contact with him/her (Battery).
A Battery includes intentional touching that is harmful or offensive, or where there is simply no consent from the victim. The contact must be physical, such as hitting or kicking, but it might simply be when a person is touched without consent or excuse. Battery does not necessarily mean that you have been harmed, for example, if someone spits at you. You may not be injured by this act, but it certainly can be construed as a Battery.
In order to prove that the Defendant is guilty of having committed an Assault And Battery, by definition, the prosecutor must prove 3 things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant touched the alleged victim, however slightly, without having any right or excuse for doing so,
- The Defendant intended to touch the alleged victim, and
- The touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the alleged victim or was done without his/her consent.
An Aggravated Assault And Battery by definition occurs when one person causes or tries to cause a severe injury to another person, particularly with the use of a deadly weapon.
Merely speaking to someone badly is not enough to constitute an assault unless the person is making a threat that makes the victim reasonably think he/she is in imminent danger. In that case, the assault is classified as ‘simple,’ that is when the assault is not accompanied by any aggravation. You cannot ‘accidentally’ assault another person. However, if you act in an intentional way that another party considers dangerous, you can be charged with assault. You can also be charged with assault if you cause bodily injury to someone, for example, if you injure someone with a deadly weapon.
There are several other charges that fall under the charge of Assault. These are:
- Assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon,
- Assault with intent to commit manslaughter,
- Assault with intent to commit murder, and
- Assault with intent to commit rape.
There are several other charges that fall under the charge of Battery.
- Aggravated Battery, causing violent injury to another that is aggravated by, for example, a deadly weapon, the intentional infliction of shame and/or disgrace, or where there is a disparity, such as the age and physical condition between the parties.
- Simple Battery, a Battery not accompanied by any other aggravating circumstances.
- Technical Battery, where in the course of treatment, a doctor or dentist exceeds the consent that is given by the patient.