The words assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but they describe two different things in the Michigan penal code. While prosecutors take both charges seriously and either can result in jail time and expensive fees, understanding the difference is important.
Assault & Battery Defined
Once you understand the definitions of assault and battery, it is easy to see why these two terms are linked.
Assault & battery are defined this way under Michigan law:
- Assault is when someone attempts or threatens to injure another person.
- Battery is when someone physically harms someone with intentional, nonconsensual physical force.
Put simply, assault describes the threat while battery describes the physical contact.
The Different Penalties for Assault & Battery
Penalties may vary for assault or battery charges depending on the circumstances of the crime, but this is what you can expect for simple charges. If convicted of assault, you will face up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines. Penalties for battery are more severe—you can spend up to a year in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines.
Assault & Battery FAQs
Can I Be Charged for Both Assault & Battery in Michigan?
In Michigan, you can either be charged with assault or assault and battery. Because assault is the threat of physical harm and battery is the completion of that threat, the penal code considers them to go hand-in-hand if physical harm actually occurs. The charge of “assault and battery” is frequently referred to simply as “battery.” You will not face separate charges for assault and battery.
Are Assault & Battery Felonies in Michigan?
Assault and battery are considered misdemeanors in Michigan. There are, however, circumstances where the charges become felonies or have steeper punishments.
Charges will be considered felonies or come with stronger penalties when:
- The assault involved a dangerous weapon, such as a gun or knife—also known as felonious assault.
- The assaulter had the intent to murder or cause great bodily harm.
- The assaulted had the intent to commit another felony.
- The accused has multiple convictions for domestic assault or assault and battery.
- The crime was committed against someone in a protected class: pregnant women, police officers, public utility workers, emergency medical personnel, and others.
Why Do I Need an Attorney If I Face Assault & Battery Charges in Michigan?
Just as there is often a misunderstanding surrounding the terms assault and battery, these charges are typically the result of complex situations where one person’s word is being pitted against another’s. In my experience as a Farmington Hills criminal defense attorney, I’ve seen how something as simple as self-defense can lead to an assault and battery charge. I’ve seen how false witness testimonies can implicate innocent people. And I’ve seen how the right defense can lead to reduced or dropped charges.
Call (248) 599-0054 for Your Free Consultation
Since 2002, I’ve helped clients during some of the most uncertain times of their lives. I take a hands-on approach to every case, and I devote time to explore the circumstances surrounding your charges and work to build a strong defense. If you were charged with assault or battery, let me fight for your future.
I serve Bloomfield, Oakland County, Lenawee County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Sterling Heights, and other areas throughout Michigan. Fill out this contact form or call (248) 599-0054 to begin your defense.