Assault and battery are not interchangeable. There are a lot of things that most people do not understand about criminal law until they get charged with a crime, including the differences between some closely related offenses. There are many incidents in which a defendant gets charged with assault and also with battery, but the terms “assault” and “battery” are not the same. Assault is any action that causes the victim to feel a reasonable fear of imminent physical harm, such as brandishing your fist in front of the victim’s face. You can be convicted of assault even if you do not make physical contact with the victim. Battery is any hostile touching of another person, such as punching or slapping, whether it causes a visible injury or not.

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