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Aggravated battery refers to an offense where an individual causes physical harm to a victim.
While battery and assault can be easily differentiated (battery involves an elemental requirement that the offender actually makes physical contact with the victim, where assault does not have such a requirement), the differences between battery and aggravated battery can be a little harder to delineate.
Both battery and aggravated battery involve the offender making physical contact with the victim, but aggravated battery charges typically call for the offender having caused serious or grievous bodily harm to the victim during the commission of the crime. Other factors can also elevate battery charges to aggravated battery, such as committing a battery against a person belonging to a protected or vulnerable legal category such as the elderly or infirm, members of the public service or law enforcement or minors, as well as utilizing a firearm or other deadly weapon during the offense.
Aggravated battery is almost always classified as a felony, largely due to the fact that battery is categorized as a violent offense, and aggravated battery is the more severe form of simple battery (which may be categorized as a misdemeanor in certain instances). Certain jurisdictions may classify technical instances of aggravated battery as misdemeanor offenses.
Aggravated battery can result in serious lifelong injury or disability to the victim, maiming or disfigurement and as such it is rare to see aggravated battery charged as anything other than a felony.
At the federal level, although the word battery is not explicitly included, it is clear that assaults involving striking, beating or wounding are worthy of a prison sentence of at least one year. If a weapon is involved, a penalty of up to 10 years incarceration is possible in federal court. More serious assaults/aggravated batteries (with intent to commit murder) could result in a federal sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.
State laws vary in terms of sentencing responses to aggravated battery charges. In some states, aggravated battery is classified as a second-degree felony with a minimum sentence of 21 months imprisonment, a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and an additional probation period of up to 15 years. A fine of $10,000 may also be included if you are found guilty of the offense. If a firearm was used in the commission of the crime, there is a mandatory 10 year sentence — or 20 years if the firearm was actually discharged during the proceedings, and 25 years if the gunfire caused injury or death.
These ranges are similarly applied in most state jurisdictions with some states leading to 12 and 45 years in jail while other states are a bit more lenient, classifying aggravated battery as a “wobbler” worthy of only up to one year in county jail if convicted of the misdemeanor.
Probation is almost always attached to sentences resulting from either a misdemeanor or felony battery, with the latter having lengthy probationary periods. Court-ordered probation can last anywhere from a number of months to 15 years.
Those looking to avoid probation (or perhaps conviction and a pursuant jail or prison term entirely) should consult experienced legal counsel. Not only can a skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with existing case law and standing precedent concerning aggravated battery cases guide you through the legal process — advising you on whether or not it’s viable to bring your case to trial or to seek a plea bargain -— but you can divulge all material evidence in your possession without fear of reprisal.
A good lawyer can help to reduce the likelihood of a lengthy jail sentence, particularly if the prosecution has a lack of evidence on their side of the legal argument. A conviction in response to aggravated battery charges can create a permanent record.
An aggravated battery criminal offense is a more serious version of battery and imposes a more severe sentence if you are convicted. Contact an aggravated battery defense attorney today to protect your legal rights and receive the best representation available.
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