Key Differences Between Assault and Battery in Arkansas

Assault and battery may seem like very similar ideas, but there are key differences in how they are treated in an Arkansas court.

Assault and battery may seem like very similar ideas, but there are key differences in how they are treated in an Arkansas court. The main distinction between the two charges is intent vs action. Battery, for instance, always involves unlawful physical contact (action), whereas assault may only suggest contact (intent). Therefore, battery is treated as a much more severe crime, and can often carry greater consequences.

Assault involves the action or intent of unwanted physical contact. It can be a bit more of an abstract definition but basically, if a threat of violence seems actionable, it can be defined as assault.

Here’s an example: if someone is standing in front of you and threatening you with imminent harm, that is assault. If an individual calls you on the phone and threatens to harm you, that is not considered assault. It may be considered harassment, but there is no imminent threat.

The two ideas are treated differently when it comes to sentencing, as well. There are several degrees of assault and battery respectively.

Degrees of Assault

Arkansas divides assault into four degrees—Aggravated Assault is the most severe, and then Assault of the First, Second, and Third Degree.

Aggravated Assault is defined as one of the following:

  • Engaging in conduct that creates a substantial danger of death or injury in another person
  • Displaying a firearm in a way that creates a substantial danger of death or injury in another person
  • Impeding or preventing another person’s breathing or blood circulation through physical contact

Aggravated Assault is a Class D felony which means it carries the potential for up to 6 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. By contrast, Third Degree Assault can lead to only 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Degrees of Battery

Battery in the First Degree is the most severe and is defined as one of the following:

  • Use of a deadly weapon to cause physical injury
  • Intention to cause disfigurement to another by destroying an organ or member of the body
  • Purposely causing serious injury to an unborn baby or pregnant mother
  • Causing serious injury to a child under 12

First Degree Battery is a class B felony and carries a sentence of 5-40 years. By contrast, 3rd Degree Assault is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries with it a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,500.

 

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced legal team that can help you through the process. Call Natural State Law today at (501) 916-2878 to learn more about our experience in criminal defense.