The law classifies assault and battery offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanor offenses, such as a fistfight, are minor crimes for which the maximum punishment is one year in jail. Felony offenses, such as assault with a deadly weapon, are serious crimes for which the maximum punishment is one or more years in prison. Felonious assault and batteries are usually committed in during the commission of another serious crime, with the use of a dangerous weapon, by several perpetrators, or with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.
Since the courts are overrun with serious criminal cases, in simple assault and batteries where there is no serious injury, unless the victim signs a complaint and vigorously pursues a criminal prosecution, most district attorneys will decline to prosecute the cases. If one wishes to seek a legal remedy to a simple assault and battery, the best avenue is usually to sue in the civil law courts.