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What is a Battery Arrest?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A battery arrest is an arrest on suspicion of battery, a legal charge which refers to causing harm to someone with unwanted physical touch. The battery arrest may be carried out by a law enforcement officer acting on a warrant or responding to a case of suspected battery at the time it occurs. Once arrested for battery, the accused will be processed at a police station, arraigned, and taken through the legal process, which may culminate in a trial.

Battery is an offense which is usually treated as a misdemeanor. It involves unwanted physical contact with the intent to cause harm. Physical contact is not limited to the body and can include objects attached to or held by someone such as a coat, a book in the hand, or an umbrella. In order to be considered battery, the contact must be clearly intentional, unwanted on the part of the victim, and intended to cause harm. Battery is sometimes paired with assault in an assault and battery charge.

After a battery arrest, the accused will have an opportunity to hear the charges, which may include charges of other crimes as well. Battery is treated differently depending on whether or not it is associated with other crimes, and may be considered aggravated battery if it was committed with the intent to cause serious bodily harm or death. The accused may opt to plead guilty and accept a sentence immediately or can take the case to trial.

Once someone has been taken in on a battery arrest and is going through processing, he or she has access to a number of legal rights, depending on the nation in which the arrest takes place. The accused may be entitled to a lawyer, for example, and is usually allowed out on bail after the arrest. The procedural rules for arrests must be followed at all times and if someone who has been arrested has concerns they should be voiced for the record.

At a trial after a battery arrest, people may hear from witnesses who were present at the time of the alleged battery, including the victim. The defense may argue that the touch was unintentional in an attempt to get an acquittal. For example, if a couple has a heated fight and one person knocks a plate out of the other person's hand, the defense might claim that the incident was accidental and the result of gesticulating during the argument. If the accused is convicted, the terms of the sentence may vary.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a MyLawQuestions researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon333556 — On May 06, 2013

In cases of spitting incidents where a police officer is pressing charges, the person making the accusation of being spit on needs to be taken immediately to a hospital and DNA swabs should be applied for evidence gathering. The officer should actually have a "spit kit" in his or her car.

Since spit when ejected can fly any way or even not fly at all it should be ascertained 100 percent that spit did in fact reach the other persons body in some way. Since battery can be considered a serious offense, a lack of DNA evidence should be a reason for dismissal of battery charges.

By Izzy78 — On Aug 21, 2011

The differences between assault and battery can be a major factor in determining the severity of the crime and the sentence for the individual. I am very unsure as to how serious battery crimes can be, however, I do know that assault with a deadly weapon can include very severe penalties, some of which can be over a sentence of twenty years.

I guess what it has to come down to is the severity of the act as well as if it is aggravated. Although battery may seem like a lesser charge than assault I have heard of instances in which someone was convicted of aggravated battery or felony battery and been sentences to several years in prison.

By jcraig — On Aug 20, 2011

@titans62 - I will also share another story about the same student and this is what allowed the officer to explain to me the difference between assault and battery. About a week later the same student threw a textbook at the same supervisor.

Reminiscent of the previous altercation the supervisor got very angry and the student fled the school, only to be picked up by the police about an hour later. This time it was considered assault because he used a weapon and he intended to inflict harm. This time the supervisor chose to press charges against the student and that is when I asked the police officer the difference between the two.

By titans62 — On Aug 19, 2011

@jcraig - That is an interesting story. It is always iffy whether or not it should be considered assault or battery. In order it to be considered assault someone has to either use a weapon, or do what is described as "rushing" the person with intent to inflict harm. With battery one has to simply make unwanted physical contact in order to inflict harm.

Someone may ask why do these not fall under the same category? Well the answer is that someone in court could always claim that they did not exactly rush the person so it could not be considered assault. Consider your story about the spitting incident.

That student definitely committed a heinous act but it could not be considered assault because he did not inflict blows or rush the person. However, by him spitting he inflicted unwanted physical contact and could result in a battery conviction, allowing him to be prosecuted if the teacher chose to.

By jcraig — On Aug 18, 2011

When I was in high school I was standing in the hallway and saw a student spit on the in school suspension supervisor. After the in school suspension supervisor was spat on he became very angry and took off out of the school, down the street. He was eventually picked up by the police and the supervisor was asked if he wanted to press charges on the student. Asking what the charge would be the officer replied that it would be considered aggravated battery. This is where I learned what the differences between battery and assault was, as I asked the police officer later, who was my neighbor.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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