In common use, and in the laws of some states, the terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably. However, in Illinois, while they are often heard in conjunction with one another, they each have specific legal definitions and are considered separate crimes. So, what is the difference between assault and battery in Illinois?
Assault Charges in Illinois
According to Illinois law, you assault someone when you act in a way that leads them to fear that you will physically harm them or make unwanted physical contact. As a simple example, if you say to a person, “I’m going to hit you” and raise your hand to slap them, then that could be considered assault. Actual physical contact or injury is not necessary for a person to press assault charges.
Illinois Battery Charges
As you may have guessed, Illinois defines battery as causing someone actual physical injury. Specifically, a person commits battery when he or she “causes bodily harm” or makes “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature” with another person. If we alter the above assault example so that you actually hit the person instead of just threatening it, then it could be considered battery.
However, if you threaten to hit the person, make them think that you are going to hit them, and then make physical contact, then that could be considered both assault and battery....