Assault And Battery
Assault and battery aren’t charges you should take lightly. They can affect your entire life if they go uncontested, and without proper counsel, they can transform your life. You should contact an experienced Riverside, California, lawyer immediately if you face allegations of assault and battery. A light punishment can mean weeks in jail, but penalties range up to life imprisonment. You need an experienced and compassionate lawyer who understands your unique situation to fight any allegations brought against you.
Defining Assault And Battery
Assault and battery are different criminal charges. Some states combine them and others separate them, but the legal definition for each is different.
Assault varies from state to state but is commonly defined as an attempt to injure someone. However, physical contact is not mandatory for someone to be convicted of assault, as threatening someone can be classified as assault.
On the other hand, battery is intentionally touching or physically harming another person. Surprisingly, harm is not necessarily required to be considered battery. Much like assault, battery can be defined as the intent to harm someone physically.
It should be stated that intent is a requirement for battery. While the definition of battery is loose, the person who initiated contact still needed to have harmful intentions. If someone bumps into you on the street – it’s not battery. However, if someone purposely tackles you, it could be seen as intentional and be classified as battery.
The reason assault and battery are so often combined is that one often includes the other. If someone threatens you and then makes physical contact in an offensive way, it would be considered assault and battery. If the two are separated, assault can be thought of as the intention to commit a physical action, whereas battery is the act of physically making contact with the person.
Penalties For Assault And Battery
Like most serious crimes that can result in a felony, assault and battery have different penalties depending on the severity of the harm inflicted.
All states and the federal government have some form of assault charge, whether they combine it with battery or not. An assault with no weapon or harm inflicted will likely be treated as a misdemeanor, with the lowest Class C misdemeanor being less than 30 days in jail or a $500 fine. However, if a weapon was used and it resulted in serious harm to the victim, it could mean a sentence of more than 25 years in prison, depending on the state.
Battery sentences can be a misdemeanor of the lowest level and range up to a first-degree felony. This means you can be sentenced to a fine as low as $500 or as high as life in prison plus a fine. The state of the victim after the attack will be the determining factor.
You may have heard of the term aggravated assault/battery. Both are more severe forms of their simple legal terms. Aggravated assault/battery is a felony in all states, and depending on the severity, the lightest sentence is a third-degree felony with a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Intent is largely the determining factor between aggravated and simple assault. If someone attacks a person with the intent of rape and it is obvious, it is classified as aggravated assault. Aggravated battery is usually classified by the harm, disfigurement or physical injury a person sustained and whether weapons were used. If there was a weapon used and it resulted in severe physical damage, then it will likely be classified as aggravated assault.
Assault And Battery Vs. Attempted Murder
Assault and battery are very different from attempted murder, but only a fine line separates some assault/battery cases from attempted murder cases. The main difference is intent. Attempted murder requires that the person intend to kill or murder someone, while assault or battery is only the physical harm that resulted. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused took direct steps toward murdering the victim. Simple assault and battery aren’t typically enough to get convicted, but when aggravated assault is in play, the prosecution will likely take a look at attempted murder, depending on the situation.
Either way, attempted murder, assault, battery and their aggravated counterparts are all separate areas. Just because someone seriously hurts someone does not mean they will also receive an attempted murder charge, so long as the intent was not to kill.
Why You Should Hire A Lawyer
You might think that the assault or battery allegations you face can be easily overcome through negotiations without the use of a lawyer, but in many cases, once it’s reached the point where legal action has taken place, not doing anything can be the worst decision you can make. Assault and battery, in their simple terms, need to be proven in court or in negotiations beyond a reasonable doubt, but if left uncontested, you are letting the prosecutors set their own terms.
A criminal allegation can turn into a felony conviction that will affect your entire life. Many people don’t realize to what extent a felony can harm someone, but it can prevent you from achieving many of the things you’ve wanted in life. Most jobs require a background check, and a felony, even if you’ve gone to college, will completely wipe out your chances of being hired by 90% of employers. That is why you should contact us at Exum Law Offices to consult with us on your criminal defense case.
Contact An Experienced Riverside, California, Attorney
California prosecutors don’t take the charges of assault and battery lightly. Public defenders are an important piece of the legal system, but they are often overworked. When you work with us, your case is a priority – not just another consultation. Contact us today by calling us at 951-934-0227 to learn how we can work on your behalf against charges of assault and battery. We understand the challenges – both legal and personal – that come after a criminal accusation. Our clients know that we are on their side throughout every step of the process.