What Is The Difference Between Assault And Battery in Ohio?

difference between assault and battery

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between assault and battery?

As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cleveland, I get this question a lot.

In this article, I’ll clearly explain assault versus battery under Ohio law. You’ll learn the legal definitions, degrees of charges, sentencing, and defenses against conviction. My goal is to provide a helpful overview so you understand these criminal offenses.

What Exactly is Assault?

Let’s start with assault. Under Ohio Revised Code §2903.13, assault is causing another person to fear imminent bodily harm. Physical contact is not required.

For example, threatening to hit someone while raising your fist could constitute assault. Wielding a weapon in a threatening manner could also qualify. Simply making verbal threats of violence may meet the criteria for assault.

Assault charges in Ohio range from first-degree misdemeanors to second-degree felonies, depending on the circumstances. Penalties can include fines, probation, anger management classes, and jail time.

Aggravated assault involves causing serious physical harm or using a deadly weapon. This is a much more serious first or second-degree felony with harsher sentencing guidelines.

Now, What is Considered Battery?

In contrast to assault, battery does require direct physical contact with the victim. Battery involves causing harmful or offensive touching without the person’s consent.

Punching, slapping, shoving, and other uses of force meet the definition of battery. The physical contact does not need to result in injury – any unauthorized touching can qualify. Battery can also occur alongside assault in the same criminal act.

Like assault, battery charges range from misdemeanors to felonies depending on aggravating factors. Strangulation, for example, is a third-degree felony battery offense in Ohio.

The Key Differences Between Assault and Battery in Ohio

While often thought of as separate charges, in Ohio, there really is not much of a difference between assault and battery. Ohio assault laws encompass both assault and battery and they won’t be charged separately.

This means they are not distinct criminal offenses. Any physical attack or unauthorized touching will be considered assault under Ohio statute.

Threats of harm without contact may qualify as assault, but there is no separate battery offense for physical contact without consent in Ohio. Whether someone is charged with misdemeanor or felony assault depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. But multiple charges for assault and battery will not apply.

Ohio Penalties for Assault and Battery Convictions

If convicted of assault or battery, potential penalties under Ohio law include:

Charge Level Jail Time Fines
Simple Assault M1 misdemeanor Max 6 months Up to $1,000
Negligent Assault M3 misdemeanor Max 60 days Up to $500
Aggravated Assault F4 felony 18 months – 6 years Up to $5,000
Felony Assault F2 felony 2 – 8 years Up to $20,000

Defending Against Allegations of Assault and Battery in Ohio

If you are facing accusations of assault, battery, or both, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights. Some possible defenses to explore include:

  • Self-Defense – Using appropriate force to protect yourself or others against harm.
  • Consent – Participating in physical contact voluntarily, like in a sporting event.
  • Misidentification – You were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator.
  • Incapacity – You were sleepwalking or otherwise lacked control or awareness of your actions.

The Consequences of Conviction

Being found guilty of assault or battery is a serious matter with long-lasting consequences. Even misdemeanor convictions stay on your criminal record permanently and can limit job opportunities. Felony convictions have even greater implications.

Potential penalties if convicted can include:

  • Fines of up to $20,000
  • Probation
  • Anger management counseling or batterer intervention programs
  • Up to 60 days in jail for a misdemeanor
  • 1-6 years in prison for a second or third-degree felony

Contact a Cleveland Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately

If you are questioned, arrested, or charged with assault or battery in Ohio, it is critical to engage an attorney right away. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your rights, analyze the prosecution’s case, and develop an effective defense strategy.

I provide aggressive representation for clients facing assault, battery, and other criminal allegations in Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio. Please contact my office for a free consultation and case evaluation. I will carefully examine the charges and work tirelessly to protect your future.

What is the punishment for assault in Ohio?

Assault charges in Ohio range from 1st-degree misdemeanors to 2nd-degree felonies, depending on the circumstances. Possible penalties include fines up to $1,000, probation, anger management classes, and jail time up to 6 months for misdemeanors or 1-8 years for felonies. Aggravated assault involving serious harm or weapons can result in harsher sentences.

Is shoving someone considered assault or battery in Ohio?

Shoving someone would generally be considered battery in Ohio because battery involves physical contact, like pushing or shoving without consent. Assault does not require physical contact but involves creating apprehension of harm. Battery may accompany assault in a shoving incident.

What are common defenses for assault and battery charges?

Typical legal defenses against assault and battery allegations include self-defense (using appropriate force to protect yourself or others), consent to physical contact, misidentification of the defendant, and incapacity to control one’s actions. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the available defenses.

Cleveland Assault and Battery Lawyer Near You

If you or a loved one are facing assault or battery charges, I understand how scary and confusing this process can be. As a former prosecutor and district attorney, I have handled hundreds of these cases from both sides and can guide you through the complex criminal justice system.

My firm provides relentless and zealous criminal defense representation for clients throughout Northeast Ohio. I will thoroughly examine the allegations, explain your rights, develop an aggressive strategy, and work tirelessly to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

Don’t leave your future to chance – contact Botnick Law Firm today for a case consultation. I have the experience, knowledge, and determination to be your fierce advocate and defend your freedom. With me as your criminal defense attorney, you and your family will get through this together.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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