Assault and battery are often confused as being the same crime, but both are different actions. Assault is typical defined as the attempt to injure another party. Assault might also include threatening behavior. Battery is defined differently as intentional harmful or offensive touching of another person without consent. Both criminal acts can happen simultaneously, though they are defined slightly differently.
To be found guilty of battery, you do not have to intent to hurt another person. The only intention you have to have is one where you intended to touch that individual. The contact must then be offensive or harmful in nature.
To be found guilty of assault, you only need to have the general intent to perform actions that led to injuries. For example, if you act in a way that leads to an accident that injures another person, you could be accused of assaulting them. A good example of this would be an assault with a motor vehicle; if you intended to speed and cause an accident, even if you didn’t intend to hurt a person, then you could be accused of assault.
Defending yourself against these allegations is important, as failing to do so can lead to heavy penalties. In a battery case, for instance, you may argue that you had the consent needed to touch the individual. If proven, you could show that you didn’t actually have offensive contact with him or her. If you did not intend to cause injuries or were not in control of your actions, then those facts could be helpful defenses.
Source: FindLaw, “Assault and Battery Overview,” accessed Nov. 07, 2016