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Do you know the difference between assault and battery?

The terms "assault" and "battery" are used together so often that many people think they are one crime called "assault and battery." In fact, the words refer to two distinct crimes. Just as the charges have different definitions, there can also be different penalties if you are convicted of one of them.

The laws regarding assault and battery may seem confusing at first because the charges are outwardly similar. But if you have been charged with one or both of these crimes, you should know their nuances. In this post, we will go over the basic differences between assault and battery, and the state of Georgia's penalties for them.

What is assault?

In Georgia, assault means attempting to injure someone else, or putting someone else in a situation that could cause them harm. In some cases, it can also refer to threats or threatening behavior.

What is battery?

Battery is making physical contact with someone else in a way that is insulting or provoking, or intentionally causing bodily harm to someone else.

How are they different?

The most critical difference between the two charges is the presence of physical contact. For a crime to be considered battery, the perpetrator must make physical contact with the victim, whereas assault is not necessarily physical. An assault could be attempting to injure someone, making threats or pointing a weapon at someone. For example, threatening to break someone's neck could be considered an assault. Physically attacking someone and injuring their neck would be battery.

What are the penalties?

The state of Georgia takes charges of assault or battery very seriously. There are severe consequences if convicted of either one.

The penalties for battery tend to be more severe than those for assault--usually, this means higher fines and more jail time. Battery convictions may also require probation or restitution-- sentences that are not affiliated with assault.

The penalties for assault may include:

  • Between one and 20 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Restitution

A conviction for battery can result in:

  • One to 20 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $1,000, and sometimes up to $5,000
  • Probation
  • Restitution

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