An assault is carried out when a threat of bodily harm is combined with an ability to cause harm which may result in either criminal and/or civil liability.
An assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes:
- assault (the threat of violence)
- battery (physical violence).
For example, an assault is the attempt to instigate harmful and/or offensive contact with a person, or the threat to do so. Many times an assault is listed along with battery. However, assault is separate from battery. An assault refers to a situation where one person creates a fear of harm in another person. For example, when someone pulls their fist back as if to harm you and you believe you will be punched, this action may be considered an assault.