A. Definition: Battery is the intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive bodily contact.
Example: A intentionally punches B in the nose. A has committed battery.
B. Intent: It is not necessary that D desires to physically harm P. D has the necessary intent for battery if it is the case either that: (1) D intended to cause a harmful or offensive bodily contact; or (2) D intended to cause an imminent apprehension on P’s part of a harmful or offensive bodily contact.
Example 1: D shoots at P, intending to hit him with the bullet. D has the necessary intent for battery.
Example 2: D shoots at P, intending to miss P, but also intending to make P think that P would be hit. D has the intent needed for battery (i.e., the “intent to commit an assault” suffices as the intent for battery).
C. Harmful or offensive contact: If the contact is “harmful” – i.e., it causes pain or bodily damage -this qualifies. But battery also covers contacts which are merely “offensive,” i.e., damaging to a “reasonable sense of dignity.”
Example: D spits on P. Even if P is not “harmed” in the sense of being caused physical pain or physical injury, a battery has occurred because a person of average sensitivity in P’s position would have her dignity offended.
D. P need not be aware: It is not necessary that P have actual awareness of the contact at the time it occurs. (Example: D kisses P while she is asleep. D has committed a battery.)
E. Contact beyond level consented to: Battery can occur where P consents to a certain level of bodily contact, but D goes beyond the consented-to level of contact. At that point, the consent becomes invalid, and battery results. Look for this “beyond the consented-to level of contact” scenario when the facts involve either a sporting event or a medical/surgical procedure.
Example: In a pick-up ice hockey game in a park, P and D are skirmishing for the puck near the side wall of the rink. D intentionally delivers a hard body check that throws P into the wall, and the collision between P and the wall badly injures P. D sues P for battery.
If D intentionally delivered a body check (a body contact) that went beyond the level or type of contact D knew or should have known P was impliedly consenting to, then it would constitute battery.
A. Definition: Assault is the intentional causing of an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact.