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When can criminal assault and battery charges be filed?

From a fist fight between two patrons at a bar to an altercation outside a home that ends in one individual pulling out a gun and shooting and injuring another, criminal charges related to assault and battery are likely to follow. When it comes to prosecuting and defending assault and battery cases, much depends on an individual's intent and justification and the resulting injuries to others.

Assault charges may be filed against an individual who is accused of engaging in actions or activities in an attempt to cause harm or injury to another individual. No actual physical contact or infliction of physical injury is necessary when pursuing criminal assault charges.

Battery charges relate to unwanted intentional physical contact with another individual that results in that individual being hurt or harmed. In many cases, criminal charges related to battery involve cases where an individual intended to cause another harm.

Take for example a bar fight between two patrons. The two individuals who engage in physical contact with one another do so with the intent to harm and injure one another. However, if while fighting, another patron is accidently punched or thrown to the ground, even though there was no intent to harm this individual, battery charges may still be filed. 

Due to the definition and nature of these offenses, assault charges may be filed alone. Battery charges, however, are almost always accompanied by assault charges and the degree of these charges depend largely upon the severity of the resulting injuries, whether a deadly weapon was involved and who was injured.

Next week, we'll continue to discuss assault and battery charges and common defenses used to fight these charges. 

Source: FindLaw.com, "Assault and Battery Overview," 2014

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