Assault & Battery

Many people are unaware that assault and battery are two different offenses. Assault is the creation of a threat of harm, while battery is the offensive or harmful touching of another person. In other words, contact is mandatory for a person to face battery charges. The crime is considered assault if no contact was made. Both are crimes and intentional torts that allow victims to seek action in criminal and civil court.

For actions to be considered assault or battery, intent is necessary. If no intent is established, the defendant isn’t guilty of either offense.

If you feel you’ve been assaulted or someone has committed battery against you, it’s important to contact a lawyer. Morgan & Morgan is the nation’s leading plaintiffs’ law firm — fill out this form for a free case evaluation from a personal injury attorney.

Defenses to Assault and Battery

In most states, a defendant may present one or more defenses to assault and battery. These defenses may include consent, self-defense, defense of property, defense of others, and performance of duty and authority.


If your state does allow consent as a defense to battery or assault, it may not be enough in cases of mutual combat. In other words, if someone hits you, you do not necessarily consent to battery if you fight back. You can give consent only voluntarily.


In most cases, the law permits reasonably necessary force to protect yourself from battery. However, whether that defense is valid will usually be up to a jury to decide. If you start a fight, you cannot claim self-defense unless the other person responds with more force that’s unreasonable. Some instances may even call for and justify the use of deadly force. In most states, you must fear for your life for deadly force to be a valid defense. Some states have “stand your ground” laws that allow deadly force even though you have a safe escape route.

Defending Others

In some cases, you may have to defend another person by committing assault or battery against someone. If the person you are protecting did not initiate the fight or is otherwise not at fault, the defense of that person may be justifiable. This would be a self-defense position, except you are defending someone who cannot aptly defend themselves.

Defense of Property

Defending property has more limitations than defending oneself, but some states allow it as a defense to assault and battery. In most cases, deadly force is not justifiable in defense-of-property actions unless the defendant is committing a felony. Moreover, this exception depends on the state. Also, in most cases, you cannot use assault or battery to reclaim personal or real property.

Performance of Duty and Authority

Generally, the performance of duty and authority defense doesn’t apply to the public but rather first responders. For example, a police officer may use reasonable force if they deem it necessary to apprehend a suspect.

Contact and Assault and Battery Lawyer

As a victim of assault or battery — or someone who engaged in those acts in defense of yourself, another person, or your property — it’s important to contact Morgan & Morgan. Our assault and battery lawyers are ready to be by your side during these trying times fighting for your best interests.

Having the right legal representation can make all the difference in your case. With more than 500 attorneys nationwide, we have the resources and reach necessary to give you the best service possible. If we move forward with your case, you’ll get a full team of lawyers and legal staff, as well as 24/7 open communication with your staff via our mobile app. And you never pay us by the hour — we get paid only if we win.

Discover what we can do for you today by completing this form for a free case evaluation.

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