When it comes to criminal law, assault and battery are categorised as a single offense ( Currul ‐ Dykeman, 2014 ). However, in tort law, assault and battery are perceived to be separate entities. Assault is perceived as an act that establishes fear of an imminent battery. On the other hand, battery is considered a touch that is unlawful. Assault and battery are usually intentional torts giving the defendants the intentions of placing the plaintiff of fear of being battered or facing unlawful touch by the plaintiff. It is usually said that the wrongful deed must not necessarily lead to physical pain, as it may be indirect through activities such as spiting.
Compare and contrast the key similarities and differences between the crime of assault and the crime of battery. Provide one example of each crime to support your response
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Crimes of assault are usually unlawful threats that cause injury to another person by force. Similarly, the crimes of battery are considered unlawful and usually cause injuries to the plaintiff. Furthermore, the similarity they have is that they are grouped under intentional torts because the attackers are usually aware of their actions. Both assault and battery cause fear and mental disturbance to their victims. For instance, when neighbour X threatens to beat neighbour Y about messing with their fence, it is natural for Y to experience fear. Besides, if X sees the threat through and beats his neighbour then he would be instilling fear and mental stress to their victim. Therefore, both assault and battery are unlawful and often lead to fear.
The major comparison between the crimes of assault and battery is that assault possesses a threat for violence, whereas battery actually carries out the threat. According to HG.org, (1995-2016), assault usually entails the lesser charge compared to battery since it involves a threat of violence and the possibility of engaging in the threat. Normally it does not matter if the person sees the threat through for them to be charged with assault. The fact that there is perceived threat to one’s safety is enough to earn one a charge. For instance, the case of (A) can be considered an assault because her attacker does not proceed to rape her but just rips off her clothes.
On the other hand, battery entails a serious act because the threat is actually carried out through inflicting harm on the victim. For instance, neighbour X threatens Y that they would hit them if their dog messes their lawn again. Battery would happen if X actually hits Y to pay for the mess in their lawn.
Is The Attacker’s Action an Assault or Battery?
Based on the example of (A), the jurisdiction under which the crime has occurred should be considered an assault because of the general intent of the assaulter. For instance, the attacker had ill intentions just by dragging (A) into an alley against her will. Even though the attacker did not proceed with the assault, he is perceived to be dangerous under the intent requirement. In my opinion, the jurisdiction should punish the man’s action as battery because of the three outstanding factors in the case, which include intentional touching and ripping of clothes, the experience of offensive touch, and lack of consent from the victim. On the other hand, the court can consider the charges both charges of assault and battery (Puxon, 1995).
From a different scenario, let us assume that A and her attacker had been in contact and were friends. The pattern of assault and battery would change if (A) willingly walked with her attacker to the alley and took off her clothes willingly. As long as (A) does not show any sign of resistance, there should be no charges of assault or battery or both.
The Nature of False Imprisonment
In most states in the United States, false imprisonment is perceived to be a criminal act and a tort. It usually entails detaining an individual in a place or an area without their consent for any good reason. The two common detention types include private or governmental. In most instances, false imprisonment involves physical force. However, it should be noted that the criminal force does not guarantee an offense of false imprisonment. False imprisonment often involves a threat of force, arrest, or the violation of one’s liberty. In the case, if (A) was held against her own will then it means the attacker should be convicted by the courts. The fact that the attacker took (A) against her will is reasonable enough to earn him a false imprisonment charge. The attacker interfered with the victim’s rights of liberty thereby causing nominal damages.
Differences between False Imprisonment and Kidnapping
More often than not, people confuse the concept of false imprisonment and kidnapping. Several key differences can be identified from these two situations. An action is considered to be kidnapping when a person defies the law and moves another person to a different location without his or her consent while intending to use them for money or gain other material items. Kidnapping is often categorized as first degree or second degree and is punishable under the law. On the contrary, false imprisonment creates civil claim for damages because of the illegal confinement of an individual without consent and limiting their abilities to move (US Legal, 2016). While comparing the two offenses, false imprisonment is considered relatively inoffensive or harmless to the detained individual because no ransom is usually attached to it. On the other hand, kidnapping is perceived to be heinous because the victim’s freedom or life depends on a price, which makes it dangerous to human life.
The Perception of Self-Defence
Let us assume that (A) is romantically involved with her attacker and are having an argument. The attacker drags her into the alley in attempt to talk and (A) slaps him. The most important question to debate on is whether the attacker has the right to defend himself. Naturally, human beings are born with survival instincts and self-defense mechanisms. It is always expected for a person to retaliate or hit back whenever the enemy attacks them. According to the law, every person has the right to defend him or herself (Whitman, 2003). In this case, the assaulter is perceived as the aggressor because he has illegally dragged (A) forcefully to an alley and (A) is forced to slap him in an attempt to defend himself. Aggressors often initiate fights with their victims but they have a limitation to self-defense. In this case, the attacker being a man who is romantically involved with (A), he is not authorised by the law to defend himself especially since it is just a slap.
However, if (A) had resolved to use other methods like an attack by a crude weapon or a gun, then the law would allow the aggressor to gain the right to self-defense. Although, it should be noted that earning thus right will require the assaulter to withdraw from the argument and explain his behaviour. For instance the attacker can calm down and explain to (A) their reasons for behaving irrationally. Besides, they can retreat from then fight and solve their issues after they calm down.
Currul ‐ Dykeman, K. (2014). Assault and Battery. The Encyclopaedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice .
HG.Org (2016). Assault and Battery. Retrieved on 9 Feb 2017 from https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=25695
Puxon, M. (1995). Assault and Battery. AVMA Medical & Legal Journal , 1 (5), 189-191.
US Legal (2016). Kidnapping v. False Imprisonment. Retrieved on 9 Feb 2017 from https://kidnapping.uslegal.com/kidnapping-v-false-imprisonment/
Whitman, J. Q. (2003). Between Self-Defense and Vengeance/between Social Contract and Monopoly of Violence. Tulsa L. Rev. , 39 , 901.