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The fine line between assault and battery charges

Learning that you have been charged with an assault or battery charge is something that can instill fear in you. Some people might start to wonder about the consequences of these charges. Some might wonder exactly how they came to face these charges. In any case, presenting a solid defense is vital when you are facing these serious charges. Because specific circumstances might affect a case, it is important to know how the law will affect you and your case in Maryland.

Assault and battery charges occur when a person tries to attack someone or does attack someone. While the line between assault and battery is a fine line, it is still present. Generally, an assault occurs when there is a criminal action that could lead to someone being injured. Contact is usually not required for an assault charge. Assault in general terms can't occur unintentionally, according to FindLaw. Instead, there has to be an intent present for an assault to occur.

Battery is a little different. This charge occurs when there is harmful or offensive contact with someone without his or her consent. The intent for battery generally isn't as strict as it is for assault. A battery can be something akin to spitting on someone or touching someone in an inappropriate manner.

In some cases assault and battery charges are listed together because of how closely they are to each other. No matter how the charges are listed, fines, imprisonment and other consequences are possible. For this reason, having a suitable defense is vital for anyone facing these violent charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Assault and Battery Overview" Sep. 24, 2014

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