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Are Assault and Battery Different Crimes?

“Assault and battery” is a common phrase that is often thrown around as indicating one crime. However, in Wisconsin assault and battery are two separate and distinct offenses. Each has its own definition under the law and its own set of penalties. We will differentiate between these two offenses so that you can better understand what you are up against if you are charged with assault or battery.

Assault vs. Battery in Wisconsin

Assault generally means that you threatened someone with imminent bodily harm that put the other person in fear of injury or death. The key component here rests with the word “threaten.” You make it appear as if you are going to cause injury such as raising a fist to strike. However, in an assault, no actual physical contact needs to take place to be charged.

Battery is committed, however, when that threat is carried out using some type of force. When you batter someone, you land the punch. You make contact with the other person that is done in a threatening or intimidating way and is intended to harm. That contact can be accomplished in a variety of ways, from punching, shoving, slapping, spitting at, throwing an object at, or, in the most serious cases, by using a deadly weapon against the victim.

Battery can be committed not only against a person, but against an unborn baby. If you were to get into an argument with a pregnant woman and shove her, causing harm to the fetus, you could be charged with battery.

Simple assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Wisconsin has several classes of misdemeanors, ranging in descending order from Class A to Class C. These charges carry 30-day, 90-day, or six-month jail sentences and/or fines ranging from $500 up to $1,000.

Simple battery is charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin. It carries up to nine months in jail and/or fines of up to $10,000.

Felony Battery

Two other types of battery have been established under Wisconsin law. These are more serious types of battery and are charged as felonies. They include:

  • Substantial battery
  • Aggravated battery

Substantial battery occurs when you cause substantial physical harm to the victim. Examples of this type of harm can include broken bones, concussions, and wounds requiring stitches. It is charged as a Class I felony carrying up to three and one-half years in prison and a fine that can range up to $10,000.

Aggravated battery is defined by “great bodily harm.” This type of harm is the kind that can have long-term effects on the victim. It can include risk of death, loss of limb, disfigurement, or some other kind of injury or dysfunction that will be permanent. Aggravated battery may be charged as either a Class H felony or a Class E felony. Class H felonies carry penalties of up to six years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. Class E felonies are more serious, carrying up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Facing an Arrest for Assault or Battery in Milwaukee?

If you have been arrested for either of these crimes, you may be facing the prospect of jail or prison time, hefty fines, probation, restitution, and a future as a convicted criminal. Such a situation calls for the skills and knowledge of a trusted defender. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, you can rely on a trial-tested former prosecutor who has spent more than 20 years defending clients in the local courts. We urge you to seek our proven legal ability and tenacity in your fight to preserve your name, your freedom, and your future.

Reach out to our office at (414) 882-8382 or by sending in your request for a consultation online today. Your initial interview is free.