Battery is the intentional touching of the body of another person, in a harmful or offensive manner without their consent. A battery is almost always preceded by an assault, which is why the terms are often used together, as in "assault and battery."

Similar to assault, battery is both a crime and a tort. The assailant may face both criminal and civil liability. A criminal battery conviction may result in a fine, imprisonment, or both. In a civil battery case, the victim may be entitled to an award of damages from the assailant. Damages for battery are typically a monetary award used to compensate the victims for their economic (medical bills, lost wages etc.) and/or non economic (emotional) injuries.

Criminal Battery

Criminal battery requires the presence of "mens rea" which means a criminal intent to do wrong. To be convicted, the assailant must have intended to cause a harmful or offensive contact. Aggravated battery is a simple battery with additional, aggravating factors. Typically, this involves the use of a weapon (whether its use was real or merely threatened). However, aggravated battery can also occur when the attack is committed against protected persons such as children, the elderly or disabled, or governmental agents. If a victim suffers serious injury or the attack occurred in a public transit vehicle, school zone, or other protected place an aggravated battery has occurred.

Civil Battery

Civil battery is an intentional tort. Accidental contact is not sufficient to constitute a battery. For a civil battery to occur, the assailant must intend to touch or make contact without the consent of the victim. However, the actor need not intend the specific harm that results from the unwanted contact. Additionally, the intent can be transferred to an unintended victim. For example, if one person intends to strike another but misses and hits a third person, both an assault (against the intended victim) and a battery (against the actual victim) have occurred. Similarly, if a person only intends to cause apprehension of an imminent battery (assault) the person has committed a battery as well if harmful or offensive contact actually occurs as a result. The non consensual contact may be made with either a person or something in contact with the person such as a necklace or jacket.

The victim of a battery does not have to prove an actual physical injury. Rather, they must prove an unlawful and unpermitted contact with his or her person or property in a harmful or offensive manner. This, in and of itself, is deemed injurious.