Protecting Your Rights, Defending Your Future

Can a battery happen by accident?

by | Jun 21, 2021 | Criminal defense, Domestic Abuse | 0 comments

A heated situation often feels like it can escalate quickly. What starts as a conversation can turn into a complicated problem that you did not intend.

Facing charges for assault and battery can be complex and confusing. While you may understand the terms, understanding the elements behind them can become challenging.

Here’s what you should know about the intent requirement in both assault and battery charges.

What does intent mean?

Intent seems like a simple term until you start learning about it in a legal context. Outside of a legal context, you might think of intent as creating the resulting harm on purpose.

However, intent has a more specific meaning when interpreting it in the context of an assault or battery charge. In this case, intent means that you took the action (or caused the action to occur) on purpose.

How does that apply to assault or battery charges?

In Illinois, battery means that you intentionally caused bodily harm or made physical contact. This means that even if you did not mean for the resulting damage to happen, but you intentionally caused the action that lead to the harm, there is still intent in your action.

The same principle is true for assault. Assault means that you knowingly engaged in conduct that made another person fear a battery. Even if you do not intend for the person to anticipate a battery, you could still be responsible for an intentional action that made the person fearful.

Can assault or battery be accidental?

Yes and no. For there to be an assault or battery, there must be an intentional action. However, you may not have intended for the action to have the resulting consequences.