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Rhode Island’s Simple Assault and Battery Law R.I.G.L. §11-5-3

Simple Assault and Simple Battery are actually two separate offenses under the same statute.  The vernacular of assault is often used wrong.  Assault is the attempt to commit a battery.  Battery is the completion of the assault or the actual touching of the person.  Therefore, one does not have to actually ever touch the person to be charged with this statute but merely attempt to touch the person.  In Rhode Island, both Simple Assault and Simple Battery are misdemeanors and can be punished with up to one year in prison and/or up to $1000 in fines.  If you are charged with Simple Assault or Simple Battery you need an experienced attorney, like Peter Calo, to represent you and your rights.

Assault

When one attempts to physically touch another person without that person’s consent, it is called an assault.  An example would be a person swinging his fist at another person but not connecting.  Although the suspect never hit the victim, the suspect has committed an assault because he intentionally tried to hit the suspect. It is important to understand that words alone can never be an assault.  If threatening words are used but no physical action is taken, then the crime could possibly be Disorderly Conduct R.I.G.L §11-45-1, but not an assault. For example, if a person tells someone that he is going to punch him in the face, but takes no physical action at all towards that action, then no assault has occurred.  However, a strong case could be made for Disorderly Conduct.

Battery

A battery is the unconsented touching, or offensive touching of another, or trauma on the body of another. Therefore, when a person swings and hits the other person, a battery has occurred, not an assault.  A misconception with battery is that an injury must occur or that the suspect wanted to injure the victim.  This is not a requirement for a battery.  For example, if someone spits on another, this would not cause any injury, but it is an offensive touching, therefore making it a battery.

Penalty

The crime of Simple Assault and/or Battery is classified as misdemeanor in Rhode Island.  If accused of this crime you could face jail time of up to one year in prison and up to $1000 fine.  You could also face restitution to the victim.   Only an experienced attorney like Peter Calo can best represent you and your rights if you are accused of this crime.  Contact him today for a free consultation.