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Is there a difference between assault and battery?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Assault and battery are terms commonly used when discussing acts of violence or harm inflicted upon others. However, it is important to recognize that these terms have distinct legal definitions and consequences.

In the state of Georgia, the courts classify assault and battery as separate offenses, each with its own set of criteria.


Assault refers to an act that puts another person in reasonable fear of immediate harm. In simpler terms, assault does not involve actual physical contact but rather the threat of harm. The state of Georgia recognizes two levels of assault: simple and aggravated.

Simple assault occurs when someone attempts to commit a violent injury to another or commits an act that places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. Aggravated assault, meanwhile, involves an intent to murder or rob, or the use of a deadly weapon or any object likely to result in serious bodily injury.


Contrary to assault, battery involves actual physical contact. In Georgia, a person commits the offense of battery when they intentionally cause substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another. As with assault, state law also acknowledges simple and aggravated forms of battery.

Simple battery occurs when a person intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another or intentionally causes physical harm to another. Aggravated battery is more severe and occurs when a person maliciously causes bodily harm to another, such as loss of a limb, disfigurement or rendering a part of the body useless.

Despite their differences, both crimes carry serious penalties. Therefore, understanding these offenses can better equip individuals to respect the boundaries set forth by law and avoid serious repercussions.