Battery is the intentional act of touching or applying force in an offensive manner between people. Because battery involves physical contact, usually in a violent manner, it differs from assault. Assault generally refers to the threat to make contact while battery is the actual physical contact.
No particular degree of contact is required for the physical contact to be considered a battery. In other words, a mere slap in the face could be a battery. So could a push, a punch, a shove, a swipe, a kick, a poke, a grab, or even an unsolicited touching of a person in a way or in a place on her body that was uninvited and unpermitted. As long as the contact is in a violent or in an offensive manner and against the will of the victim, it may be considered a battery.
Like other criminal offenses, however, a battery only exists if it can be proven that the offender intended to make contact with the victim. There must be unlawful intent. A person who fails to tie his shoes and thereby trips over a shoelace, causing himself to fall backwards into another person, could possibly be liable for negligence – a civil tort – but would not likely ever face a charge of criminal battery because he had no intent to cause physical harm or to make any physical contact with the person behind him (or with any person at all).
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick works diligently to help clients charged with battery raise as many defenses as possible. Among the many defenses are the following:
- Lack of Intent. The defendant may never have formed any criminal intent and may simply have made contact with the victim for perfectly innocent reasons.
- Consent. The defendant and the victim were involved in a consensual event – a sport (a wrestling match, for example), or they both entered into a fight together, or other gave an express or implied consent to engage in physical contact with each other, fully aware of the risks and outcomes.
- Self-Defense. Where the victim provoked the situation, the defendant can raise the defense of self-defense, provided that the defendant did not apply more force than was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to defend himself.
- Defense of Another. Where it becomes necessary to come to the aid of an innocent third party, particular those to whom the defendant owes a duty of protection.
- Defense of Habitation. Where it becomes necessary to protect one’s home or dwelling from the destructive actions or trespasses of the victim.
If you or someone you know has been implicated in a criminal offense, please contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick at 1-866-337-2900 for a free case evaluation.