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Are Battery and Assault the Same in Wisconsin?

 Posted on April 12, 2022 in Criminal Law

muskego assault and battery defense attorneyThe terms “battery” and “assault” are often used interchangeably when people talk about criminal charges for acts of physical violence, but these two terms are not the same and describe behavior with different legal consequences. Because they are both violent offenses with serious criminal penalties, it is important to understand the difference between battery and assault if you have been charged with one or both of these crimes. 


Battery is an act of force intended to cause bodily harm. “Bodily harm” includes, but is not limited to bruises, cuts, burns, hair loss, or illness. Charges of simple battery that do not involve great bodily harm are usually punished as misdemeanors that can carry up to nine months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. If you used a weapon, or even just threatened to use one, you could face additional jail time of up to six months. 

Under certain circumstances, however, battery can also be punished as a felony. When battery causes substantial or great bodily harm, or is committed against an elderly person, pregnant woman, a police officer, or disabled person, the battery can be prosecuted as a felony. The consequences of the felony charge will be determined by how badly the person was hurt and whether they were a member of a protected class. The most serious felony battery charges could land you in jail for up to 15 years and fines up to $50,000. 


In contrast to battery, assault occurs when someone makes someone else reasonably afraid that they will cause bodily harm. No physical contact needs to take place, and assault charges can be leveled against someone who did not intend to follow through on the threat. While Wisconsin does not technically use the word “assault” to describe behaviors that generally fall under the category of threats of physical harm, it does have punishments for threats to injure. However, assault and battery are often charged together because assault often comes first and is followed by battery. 

Call a 24/7 Muskego, WI Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with battery or assault, get the help of an experienced Muskego criminal defense attorney. At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, we make ourselves available at all hours of day or night so you can get the help you need when you need it most. Call us now for yourself or a loved one at 262-232-6699 to schedule a free consultation. 


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