Monday, April 27, 2015

The Differences between Assault and Battery in Nevada

Assault and battery are often construed as one criminal act. However, an assault and a battery constitute separate, distinct crimes, differing in their elements and requirements for conviction. The elements of each crime will be presented and then compared, signifying the distinctions between each act, followed by a discussion on possible defenses to both assault and battery, as well as the steps you may take to challenge an accusation of assault or battery.

What is an assault?


Under Nevada law, NRS 200.471, an assault is “unlawfully attempting to use physical force against another person; or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.” To prove that an assault has occurred, the prosecution must show that:

  • The suspect intended to attempt to use physical force upon the victim or to place the victim in fear of bodily injury
  • The victim was aware that an assault occurred
  • The assault gave the victim an immediate fear of bodily injury
Penalties for an assault conviction vary depending on the circumstances but may include:

  • Community service
  • Six months to one year in jail
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000

What is a battery?


Under Nevada Law, NRS 200.481, a battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” To prove that a battery has occurred, the prosecution must show that:

  • The suspect intended to use unlawful force against the victim
  • The force used made a physical contact on the victim
  • The victim did not consent to the physical contact
Penalties for a battery conviction vary depending on the circumstances but may include:

  • Two to fifteen years in state prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

Similarities and differences between assault and battery


Both assault and battery require that the suspect had the intent to commit the crime therein. Additionally, both assault and battery require the use of some sort of force or harm upon another individual.

Assault does not require actual physical contact against the other individual, only the fear of immediate bodily harm. The threat of the use of physical force or bodily harm against an individual may be sufficient for a conviction of assault under Nevada law. Battery, on the other hand, requires physical contact upon another person.

Where assault requires that the victim was aware that an assault was occurring at the time of its commission, battery does not have a similar requirement of awareness. Rather, battery requires that the victim did not consent to the physical contact upon himself or herself by the suspect.

Common Defenses


Defenses to an assault charge include:

  • No intent to commit an assault
  • Self-defense
  • The acts that occurred were not offensive against the victim
Defenses to a battery charge include:

  • No intent to commit a battery
  • The victim consented to the contact
  • Self-defense

If you are accused of committing assault or battery, it is important that you seek a strong criminal defense as soon as possible. Contact our team at the De Castroverde Law Group to discuss your case and legal options.