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What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Delaware?


For many Americans, knowledge of the legal system comes from watching some of the amazingly realistic crime dramas on TV and in film. Therefore, when you hear the term “assault,” you might expect it to be followed by “battery.” In many US states, assault and battery are either separate crimes or combined offenses. However, Delaware laws on assault do not mention battery at all. Instead, they describe three levels of assault crimes that are charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances.

You cannot be arrested for assault and battery in Delaware, but charges for assault are serious enough. It is critical to take advantage of all possible defense opportunities, including solutions to mitigate the impact. If you were arrested, you will need a Wilmington assault defense attorney to help navigate the complicated legal process. In addition, though the distinction is not applicable in Delaware, an explanation about assault versus battery is useful.

Difference Between Assault and Battery: When used in another jurisdiction or in other contexts, the distinction between the two focuses on physical contact:

  • With assault, a person commits a crime by engaging in an intentional act that puts the victim in reasonable fear that harmful or offensive physical contact is imminent. The contact may not actually occur. The conduct of making a threat or attempt against the person is assault.
  • Battery is an intentional act that causes physical contact, harm, or injury to the victim.

A criminal attack could be charged in some jurisdictions as assault and battery when the defendant committed both offenses. In gearing up to make physical contact, the assailant causes fear in the victim. However, battery could be charged on its own if a defendant sneaks up behind someone and strikes. There was no assault if the victim did not perceive fear.

Assault Crimes in Delaware: The descriptions above are not how assault offenses work in Delaware. Instead, you should note the following about these crimes.

  1. Third Degree Assault: This offense involves intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury, or negligently causing harm via a deadly weapon. It is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
  1. Second Degree Assault: With this crime, the point is whether the defendant caused serious physical injury or intentionally caused harm with a deadly weapon. The identity of the victim is also important, such as a police officer, person over 62, or pregnant woman. If convicted of this Class D Felony, you face up to 8 years in prison.
  1. First Degree Assault: The most severe charges for assault involve a Class B Felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Reach Out to a Delaware Assault Defense Lawyer Right Away 

Battery is not used in Delaware’s criminal terminology, but assault charges are extremely serious. When you could be spending years behind bars, legal representation is crucial. Our team can help, so please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica to set up a consultation. Individuals in New Castle County can call 302.600.1262 or visit us online to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.



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