You are probably accustomed to hearing the phrase “assault and battery,” but some states separate the two and some use just one term for both crimes.
Missouri does not recognize “battery,” but looks upon this term as a form of “assault.”
The meaning of assault
In general terms, assault is psychological in nature. When you assault someone, you produce a fear or apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive physical contact. You might raise your fist, wave a weapon in the air or verbally threaten a harmful action you intend to take.
The meaning of battery
Battery is a physical action, which often follows assault. It is more fully explained as “an intentional physical contact with a person without his or her consent that results in bodily harm or is offensive to a reasonable sense of dignity.” There are many sides to the matter of battery. For example, if you hug someone not knowing that she does not want this kind of contact, you could be liable for battery. Courts have ruled that just blowing cigarette smoke in another person’s face constitutes battery.
There is no such crime as battery in Missouri. Instead, the state absorbs battery into various forms of assault that range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony. The penalties for a Class C misdemeanor include jail for up to 15 days plus a fine of up to $750. A conviction for a Class D felony brings a prison term of up to four years and possible fines of up to $10,000. If you are facing an assault charge, there are many options to consider. Your attorney will build a defense strategy that will result in the best possible outcome for your case.