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Assault vs. Battery: What's the Difference?

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Assault vs. Battery: What's the Difference?


The words “assault” and “battery” are often used in the same breath to describe the same charge. People even tend to interchange the words, unconcerned about whether doing so causes any confusion.

In many ways, it’s okay to swap the terms. At the crimes’ most basic levels, they are usually charged and penalized identically.

There is, however, a legal difference between assault and battery. In this article, we will explore how the crimes are similar and different, and we will discuss Nevada’s penalties for each.

Defining Assault

Essentially, assault involves an unwanted invasion of personal space. If you spit on someone or throw something at them, you could be charged with assault. Recent headlines have revealed examples of glitter bombs resulting in assault charges.

Assault can also be the threat or intent of violence. If you get into someone’s face, yelling at or threatening them, you could be arrested. You may even be charged for balling your fist up at someone. Taking a swing at someone and missing is also a form of assault.

Defining Battery

Battery involves direct, physical, violent contact. It could be as minor as pushing someone or as egregious as a savage beatdown. Using objects to strike someone counts as battery as well, even if you throw it from a long distance.

Injury is not necessary to secure a battery charge. The simple act of touching someone against their will is enough to result in a battery arrest.

Nevada’s Assault Penalties

“Simple assault,” or assault committed without a weapon, is a misdemeanor in Nevada. It is punishable by up to 6 months in jail with fines as high as $1,000.

“Assault with a deadly weapon” is a Category B felony in the state. This is the second-highest felony class, so the charge is very serious. A guilty verdict could put someone in prison for 1 to 6 years, and the offender could be forced to pay fines up to $5,000.

Nevada’s Battery Penalties

Battery penalties rise depending on the damage to the victim. If the victim is mostly unharmed, the attacker faces a misdemeanor, penalized by up to 6 months in jail with fines up to $1,000.

If the victim is seriously harmed, the battery becomes a Class C felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Battery with a deadly weapon is a Class B felony. It leads to 2 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Penalties also rise based on the victim. While on the job, certain workers are labeled “protected classes” An offender could suffer greater consequences for attacking one of these workers. Protected classes include teachers, officers, traffic workers, sports officials, and more.

If you’ve been accused of assault or battery, our firm is here to help defend you. For a free consultation, call us today at (775) 502-1575. You may also contact us online.

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