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Assault and battery are distinct criminal charges in Louisiana

The crimes of assault and battery are commonly grouped together. Louisiana residents may even think they are one crime, but that is not the case, especially when it comes to being charged for these crimes. The criminal charges of assault and battery are actually two separate charges in Louisiana.

Under Louisiana law, assault is defined as "an assault committed without a dangerous weapon." To be convicted of assault, a person must act criminally, but does not have to have actual physical contact with the alleged victim. This differs from battery in which illegal contact must occur.

Assault often encompasses a person's attempt to injure another, and it must include an act or acts that put a victim in reasonable fear of harm that is imminent. A person's words alone are insufficient to constitute an assault. A person convicted of assault charges could face a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of $200.

The crime of battery consists of a person intentionally using force or violence against another person. In Louisiana, the crime of battery also encompasses the intentional administration of poison to another person. Simple battery occurs when a person commits a battery, which is an intentional offensive or harmful physical touching without the consent..

A person convicted of battery charges in Louisiana faces up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. More severe criminal charges and associated penalties may apply if a person is convicted of battery of a police officer, correctional facility employee or school teacher, among other protected persons.

Allegations of assault and battery often involve one person's word against another. A person facing such charges should not take them lightly, however, as convictions can carry serious consequences and cause damage to a person's reputation, making a defense is important. Seeking prompt legal advice may prove beneficial to a person who has been charged with assault or battery, or both, helping the defendant reduce or dismiss some or all of the charges against them.

Source: FindLaw, "Assault and Battery Overview," accessed May 1, 2015

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