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Understanding the distinction: assault vs. battery

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Understanding the differences between offenses is crucial for accurate legal representation and a fair trial if the state charges you with a crime. One common confusion is telling apart assault and battery in Arkansas.


Arkansas defines assault as an intentional act that creates apprehension or fear of imminent bodily harm in another person. No physical contact needs to occur for an assault to take place; merely causing a person to have a reasonable fear of harm can constitute assault.


Battery in Arkansas is defined as physically touching someone without their consent, resulting in harm or offensive touching. Unlike assault, which requires only the threat of harm, there must be some physical interaction for a battery to exist.

The relationship between assault and battery

While each offense is a separate crime, they are closely related and often, authorities charge people with both crimes simultaneously. If a person causes both fear and physical harm, the state can charge them with assault and battery.

Arkansas separates assault and battery into different degrees, depending on severity. The degree of the offense determines the potential penalties if the prosecution convicts the person charged with the crime.


In cases of assault, the crime is categorized as one of these three:

  • First-degree assault
  • Second-degree assault
  • Third-degree assault

In the case of battery, a person can be charged with:

  • First-degree battery
  • Second-degree battery
  • Third-degree battery

Having knowledge of the different degrees of assault and battery in Arkansas is important for any individual whom the state has charged with one of these crimes or individuals who want to understand the law.