Battery

At common law, an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the "person" of another.

Battery is concerned with the right to have one's body left alone by others.

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. A defendant sued for a tort is civilly liable to the plaintiff for damages. The punishment for criminal battery is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Usually battery is prosecuted as a crime only in cases involving serious harm to the victim.

The Act: The act must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim—such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound—could constitute battery, but actual injury is not required.

Intent: Although the contact must be intended, there is no requirement that the defendant intend to harm or injure the victim. In Tort Law, the intent must be either specific intent—the contact was specifically intended—or general intent—the defendant was substantially certain that the act would cause the contact.

Harmful or Offensive Conduct: It is not necessary for the defendant's wrongful act to result in direct