Assault vs Battery in Illinois.



Nothing confuses more people in Illinois than the difference between “assault” and “battery” Why do people in Illinois often mix up the law of battery with the law of assault? It’s simple (the law, actually… not the confusion).

Battery and assault are not interchangeable terms; they’re more like distant cousins with distinct roles to play. Battery involves the intentional, harmful, or offensive physical contact with another person without their consent. Imagine someone hurling a pie at you—it’s not just a tasty treat; it’s also an act of battery.

Battery is when a person knowingly makes contact of a insulting or provoking nature or causes bodily harm

Assault, on the other hand, is the apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact. Picture someone brandishing a pie menacingly, causing you to fear an imminent pie-in-the-face situation—that’s assault.

You might be thinking, “But wait, aren’t they essentially the same thing?” No. At least not in Illinois. While battery involves actual physical contact, assault revolves around the threat of such contact. It’s like the difference between feeling the sting of the pie hitting your face (battery) and tensing up as someone winds up to throw it at you (assault).

So, why the mix-up in Illinois? One possible culprit is the colloquial use of the term “assault” to describe any physical altercation. How many times have you heard someone say, “He assaulted me!” when what they really mean is, “He hit me!” Too many times. But in Illinois you can’t batter what you can’t hit.

Another factor contributing to the confusion is the way these terms are portrayed in popular media. From gritty crime dramas to sensationalized news reports, assault and battery often get lumped together in a mishmash of legal jargon.

If you really want to get into it, you’ll have to dig into the Illinois Compiled Statutes – the actual written laws. Assault and Battery both have very straightforward definitions (at least until you start getting into thing like aggravated assault or battery with a deadly weapon).

So, there you have it. Battery requires physical contact. Assault requires somebody to think they’re about to be battered. Next time you hear somebody casually say that somebody who’s been hit has been “assaulted” you can casually say, “No. He’s been battered” and explain them the difference.

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