Tulsa Attorney BlogIntentional Torts: What Their Elements Are and What They’re Used For

Civil Battery Is Defined as Intentional Harmful or Offensive Touching

Video Transcribed:  Hey, this is Tulsa Attorney, Brian Jackson. Today, I want to talk to you a little bit about some of the classic intentional torts and what their elements are, and what they’re used for. Well, the first one you usually learn about in law school is the battery.

Now, the civil battery is a little bit distinct from criminal battery. Criminal battery, well, first of all, there’s a hybrid of proof in criminal court. And second of all, with criminal charges, you are looking at the possibility of incarceration, and they can be also defined differently. A civil battery is defined as intentional harmful or offensive touching.

So he doesn’t have to necessarily inflict an injury. If the person finds it offensive, that can also still be considered a battery. There’s actually case law out there, people who were successfully sued for battery, for example, for blowing smoke in somebody’s face, cigar smoke.

So it’s a little bit different than a criminal battery, which typically requires a little bit more than that to get somebody for criminal battery. Another common intentional tort you see is assault. Assault, a lot of people misunderstand what assault means that when they use the word assault, they typically use it to talk about what would legally be called a battery.

Civil assault is to place somebody in fear of imminent, harmful, or offensive touching. An example of that would be if you deliberately threw a beanball at somebody’s head, not intending to hit them, but just trying to whiz it by their head. That’s an assault.

Now, if you hit him in the head, that’s a battery. Now under Oklahoma criminal law, if you throw a beanball at somebody, it could be considered either an assault and battery, or it might be written up as an assault and battery with a dangerous instrument, the dangerous instrument being the ball. Certainly, if it’s a baseball or a rock, that’s within the scope of that law.

In civil court, if you throw it at them and miss, whether it’s intentional or not, it’s an assault. If you hit them, it would be a battery. Another intentional tort would be false imprisonment. That’s basically the intentional confining of someone against their will to a bounded area.

It’s a civil equivalent to a kidnap, although a kidnap’s a little bit different. But basically, there’s a lot of case law dealing with false imprisonment involving people that were wrongfully detained for shoplifting. And Oklahoma does recognize a shopkeep privilege, which is something I’ll probably talk about in a future video, but sufficed to say that that’s what false imprisonment is.

There’s also the intentional tort of trespass to land and trespass to chattels. Trespass to land is exactly what it sounds like. Although there’s an interesting wrinkle with trespass to land. The intent element of trespass to land is an intentional entry upon the property of another.

It’s the intention to enter the property that matters. If you intentionally enter a property, believing that it’s your property, but it turns out it wasn’t your property, that’s still actionable as trespass. Trespass to chattels is if you interfere with the chattel of another, intentionally interfere with the chattel of another. That would be, for example, if you keyed somebody’s car. Now, if it’s an extreme interference where you actually interfere with it to the extent of converting it to your own use, that’s called conversion, and that’s a different tort.

Another intentional tort that comes up from time to time is the intentional infliction of emotional distress. And that’s basically where if an individual engages in extreme and outrageous conduct that would offend or that would harm the emotions of a reasonable person, and actually does emotionally harm the person that the tort was committed upon. And those were all intentional. Those are all the classic intentional torts. If you are looking for a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney you should go to makelaweasy.com

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