According to criminal defense attorney Bobby G. Frederick, assault and battery charges are divided into three separate categories: third degree, second degree and first degree. The difference in all three is the degree to which one person invades the personal space, or injures, another person. Third degree is mild in nature, second degree is moderate and first is the most serious.
According to FindLaw, assault is intentionally threatening or acting in a threatening manner. Battery is intentionally touching someone without their consent in an offensive or harmful manner. Third degree assault and battery is considered simple assault. An example would be someone acting belligerent towards another person. Words are exchanged and one person pushes the other during an argument. This charge can put someone in jail for up to 30 days.
Second degree assault and battery causes another person moderate physical injury, as defined by attorney Bobby G. Frederick. Examples include unwanted touching of private parts or beating someone badly enough to put them in the hospital.
First degree assault and battery is also considered aggravated assault. Physical battery may or may not be part of the equation. Actions that can send a person to jail for up to 10 years include intentionally lewd nonconsensual touching of private parts, causing serious physical injury that could lead to death or hurting someone during the commission of a robbery or kidnapping.