Battery (law Lat. battere, from Saxon hatti, a club), as defined by Blackstone, the unlawful beating of another. But if beating be here taken in its usual sense, the definition is not nice enough; for the offence includes every unlawful or wrongful touching of another's person against his will or without his consent, whether it be in the form of violence or of mere constraint. A battery is the consummation of the act, the threat or attempt of which constitutes an assault. (See Assault.) As every battery is reached through an assault, these two offences are often described by the latter word alone, though the phrase of the law, assault and battery, sometimes used in common speech, preserves the proper legal distinction. Thus the unlawful raising of the hand or of a weapon, as if to strike another, is an assault; the actual infliction of the threatened blow is a battery. - The law makes one's person inviolable. Therefore not only is a blow a battery, but so also is spitting upon one, throwing water or any other substance upon him, pushing him, or pushing another person or anything against him. And the iriviolabil-ity of a man's person extends to all that at the time pertains to it.
Thus it is a battery to strike one's cane in his hand, or the clothes on his body, or a horse on which he is riding so that he is thrown. Taking indecent liberties with a woman, kissing her or otherwise touching her without her consent or against her will, are also batteries. It is not necessary that the injury should be done by the hand of the aggressor; for the offence is committed not only by striking another with a stick or with a stone thrown at him, but also by urging on a dog so that he bites him, or by driving a horse over him, or driving a wagon against that in which the other is riding, so that he sustains bodily injury. Nor need the injury be immediately done by one to make him guilty. This principle is illustrated by the cases of those who abet one who maliciously fights or beats another, or of one who procures another to commit an assault and battery, or of a shipmaster who suffers any one under his control to commit a battery on board his ship upon one of his crew or passengers. It is immaterial whether the act be done with violence or in anger, or result from the omission of that care which the law requires every one to exercise toward others.
Thus when A threw a lighted squib among a crowd of people, and it was thrown from hand to hand by several in their attempts to escape it, till it fell upon B and put out his eye, it was held a battery by A. So, one who rides with and assents to the reckless and unlawful driving of another, whereby a person is run over, is himself guilty of the battery. But the intention may be material so far as it determines the character of the act of touching another without his permission. For to put one's hand on another for the mere purpose of attracting his attention is innocent; and so it is if the injury was entirely accidental and undesigned, not merely in fact, but in view of that rule of the law which imputes guilty negligence when there is lack of due care. Upon these principles one is guiltless when his horse runs without his fault and injures another. And if an officer, authorized to arrest one, lays his hands upon him, or uses only necessary force, for the purpose of making the arrest, he is justified; or if one is threatened with an assault, or another attempts wrongfully to deprive him of his goods, he may justifiably use sufficient violence on the wrong doer to protect his person or property.
But the use of any excessive violence in such a case, that is to say, of any more violence than is necessary to prevent the threatened injury, is a battery. The reasonable chastisement of a child by his parent or his schoolmaster is not battery; nor is the reasonable even though forcible restraint of a lunatic by his keeper, or the seizing or holding of one who is about to commit an assault, or the wresting of a weapon from him. - Battery is a misdemeanor by the common law, punishable by fine and imprisonment; and the party injured may also have his private civil action for damages.