Civil vs. Criminal Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and battery charges are considered intentional torts. This means they can serve as the basis for a civil lawsuit and demand compensation as monetary damages. However, assault and battery charges are also considered a crime, which means they can result in prosecution by the state. If the individual accused of this crime is found guilty, they may have to spend time in jail. Understanding the difference between civil and criminal assault and battery charges can be beneficial.

Assault and Battery Charges Defined

Civil and criminal assault and battery charges have the same basic definition; however, the criminal statutes may vary slightly.

In most cases, regardless of if it is a civil or criminal manner, the action starts as assault and then becomes battery when physical touching occurs.

The Facts about Civil Assault and Battery Charges

If you are facing civil assault and battery charges, they are considered torts. A tort is committed by a single person against another and results in damage. Civil assault and battery are referred to as intentional torts.

Criminal Assault and Battery Charges

The majority of torts occur due to some type of negligent act, which means that the act was reckless or careless. An intentional tort is one that is committed on purpose. In addition to assault and battery, other types of intentional torts include fraud, slander and false imprisonment.

The Facts about Criminal Assault and Battery Charges

Crimes occur when a person violates a criminal statue that prohibits and then punishes certain types of conduct. A criminal case is brought and then prosecuted by the state where it occurred in the interest to protect the public’s welfare. A jury will then have to be convinced that the charged crime was committed and if a guilty verdict is interested, incarceration may follow.

There are two important ways that criminal assault and battery charges differ from civil ones, which include:

  • The burden of proof is much stricter in any criminal case
  • There is the additional requirement to prove that a violation of a certain criminal statute was present according to the law

Keep in mind, even if a verdict of not-guilty for criminal assault and battery charges is interested, then it does not prevent a victim from filing a civil suit for the same action. Because civil suits involve the presentation of monetary damages and they aren’t brought about by the state, double jeopardy rules (these prevent an individual from trying more than once for the same actions) are not applicable.

This means a person may be found not-guilty of a crime, but may still be civilly liable, and as a result have to pay damages that occur due to the same incident.

If you are facing assault and battery charges and facing criminal punishment, then you need to hire an attorney. More information about criminal representation can be found by contacting the attorneys at The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC by calling 202-331-0793.

Additional Reading

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