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The Commonly Misunderstood Charges of Assault and Battery

 Posted on May 22, 2017 in Violent Crimes

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn popular culture, the crimes of assault and battery have acquired numerous meanings that are not entirely in keeping with the actual nature of the offenses themselves. This can cause potential problems when one is accused of such an offense and is not entirely sure what specific acts they are being accused of committing. If this situation ever arises in your life, it can be extremely helpful to know exactly what such an accusation includes and what it does not.


The popular perception of assault is that it involves unwanted physical contact with a second person. This, however, misstates several aspects of the legal definition. Assault in Illinois is defined as a person engaging in a course of action “which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” In other words, one need not even touch another to commit assault against him or her. The crux of the issue is the fear that the victim is made to feel, whether it is subjective or not.

Battery, by comparison, does involve touching, although it might not necessarily be hand-to-hand. The statute defines such an action as either causing bodily harm or making physical contact that is offensive or provoking to a person without obtaining consent beforehand. Some actions may be both, such as hitting someone with an object, but many are one or the other. If the conduct in question qualifies under either prong of the statute’s definition, charges of battery may be brought against the perpetrator.

Aggravated Assault and Battery

One aspect of such causes of action that causes frequent confusion is the adjustment or difference in recognizing aggravated assault or battery compared to the “standard” versions of these offenses. “Aggravated” is often a modifier that seems merely tacked on for emphasis in pop culture; however, its legal meaning can be quite significant. Under Illinois law, the most common rationales for modifying an assault or battery charge to an aggravated assault or battery charge are the status of the victim, the type of weapon used (or if one was not used), and the location where the alleged assault or battery (or both) occurred.

For example, if two friends get into a shouting match during which plausible threats are made—or punches are thrown without landing—the charge would be standard assault if anything. No physical contact being made means that a battery charge cannot be brought under Illinois law. However, if one of the participants in the argument brandishes a firearm, then the charge would rise to aggravated assault, because of the use of a deadly weapon. If the argument progressed to shoving or other forms of physical altercation, the charge may include assault and battery, most likely, absent any altering details. If the argument ends with one participant using the gun and severely wounding the other, the charge would likely be aggravated battery, if not attempted murder.

Seek Knowledgeable Legal Assistance

Despite what pop culture portrays, an assault charge or a battery charge can sprout from a very small seed. If you have been accused of either offense or both, contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 773-276-5541 for a free consultation at Luisi Legal Group today.




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