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What is the difference between "criminal" battery and "civil" battery?

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larrygates eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The primary difference is that civil battery is unlawful conduct for which one brings a civil action. Touching a person in an unfriendly manner and telling him to "get out of my way," would be civil battery. The remedy would be civil damages. Criminal battery occurs when the conduct rises to the level of actual harm to the other person; for instance in the situation described above, one punched the other person or pushed him to the ground. Another--and very important--distinction is in the level of proof that is required. An action for civil battery--which can and does happen more frequently than one might anticipate--involves a suit for money damages, and the level of proof is the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence must show that the battery was committed. If it is a criminal charge, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. One act can constitute both civil and criminal battery, so one could be sued and go to jail.

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M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Under the legal perspective, the term "battery" refers to any physical contact that someone does to another person without their consent. The physical contact is often associated with inflicting pain on someone else such as fighting, hitting, slapping, pushing, and shoving.

The keyword that identifies battery as real is the intention. If there is proof of intention, then the case will be much easily tried in a court of law.

There are two types of battery: Civil and Criminal.

When it comes to criminal battery, it must be proven that someone intentionally committed an assault against someone, or intended to provoke bodily harm and succeeded.

Civil battery is often linked to suing someone as a result of a criminal battery, for example, for medical expenses, or for defamation and libel (in some states). For that reason people who need a defense for civil battery are often represented in civil court to negotiate amounts of money.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There is not really a great difference between the tort of battery and the crime of battery.  The only real difference is in the penalty that is dealt out to a defendant who is convicted.  It is also generally true that only more severe forms of battery are prosecuted criminally.

In both kinds of battery, there have to be three elements present.

First, there has to be an act done by the defendant.  Second, the act must result in contact with the victim that is either harmful or offensive.  Finally, there must be an intent to cause harm or the knowledge that harm would occur.

All of these requirements apply in both types of battery.  As the link below says

Battery is both a tort and a crime. Its essential element, harmful or offensive contact, is the same in both areas of the law. The main distinction between the two categories lies in the penalty imposed.

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rienzi | Student

Criminal battery requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil battery only requires a preponderance of the evidence. Also civil battery requires damages; a compensable injury. Though as a practical matter the criminal case would be concluded before a statute of limitations to sue civilly would run. So a victim would ordinarily ask the criminal court for restitution for medical bills etc. There is no sense suing civilly if the criminal system will recover a victim's losses.