In both criminal and civil law, a battery is the intentional touching of, or application of force to, the body of another person, in a harmful or offensive manner, and without consent. A battery is often confused with an assault, which is merely the act of threatening a battery, or of placing another in fear or apprehension of an impending and immediate battery. A battery is almost always preceded by an assault, which is why the terms are often used transitionally or combined, as in “assault and battery.”
The Restatement (Second) of Torts, Sections 13 and 18, states that an actor commits a battery if he acts intentionally
- to cause a harmful or offensive contact or
- to cause imminent apprehension of such a contact
- and a harmful or offensive contact actually occurs.