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Are assault and battery the same thing?

If you think you face charges of assault and battery in Kentucky, you should realize that these crimes are different from each other. Per FindLaw, assault and battery are similar to each other, but the prosecutor must prove distinct things to convict you of one as opposed to the other. Therefore, carefully check your citation to determine if the officer charged you with both crimes or only one of them.

To convict you of either assault or battery, the prosecutor must prove both that you intended to commit your alleged crime and that you engaged in one or more acts to accomplish your alleged purpose.


Intent to commit assault means that you intended to harm your alleged victim, not that you actually did so. Intent also can mean that you intended to threaten your alleged victim. If the prosecutor can prove that your alleged victim did indeed become frightened for his or her own safety based on what you said to him or her, this is both sufficient intent and action to convict you of assault.

Words in and of themselves seldom rise to the level of assault without an accompanying act. However, sometimes they do. For instance, if you scream or yell at your alleged victim, this may be sufficient to constitute a verbal assault, especially if you clench your fists or brandish a weapon while yelling.


Unlike with an assault, to convict you of battery the prosecutor must prove that you came into physical contact with your alleged victim. That contact, however, need only to have been minimal. Actually, the prosecutor must prove the following three things to convict you of battery:

  1. That you intentionally touched the victim
  2. That (s)he did not consent to the touching
  3. That the touching offended or harmed him or her

Intent to commit battery means only that you intended to come into physical contact with your alleged victim, not that you necessarily intended to harm him or her by means of the contact.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand the differences between assault and battery.

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

225 West Irvine Street
Richmond, KY 40475

Toll Free: 800-494-9916
Phone: 859-353-0878
Fax: 859-623-6406
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P.O. Box 157
Richmond, KY 40476