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What Is Criminal Battery?

Criminal battery is typically defined as an act resulting in unwanted harmful or offensive touching of another person. 

What Is the Difference Between Criminal Assault and Criminal Battery?

Charges of assault do not require that the offender actually touch the victim, while charges of battery do.

Assault can include hurling serious mortal threats and attempting to strike a victim without actually succeeding. Battery is restricted to acts of actual harmful or offensive contact, made without consent, from the offender upon the victim.

Types of Criminal Battery Charges

Criminal battery charges are generally broken down into two major categories, simple criminal battery and aggravated criminal battery.

Simple criminal battery is the lesser of the charges and is usually classified as a misdemeanor. A light slap over a perceived insult where no lasting harm was caused may, for example, qualify as simple criminal battery. For repeat offenders, however, classification as a misdemeanor.

Aggravated criminal battery most often refers to battery charges in which there is at least one escalating factor. Battery with a dangerous or lethal weapon generally escalates the charge to aggravated battery automatically.

Battery, where there is particularly grievous bodily harm to the victim, could be escalated from simple criminal battery to aggravated criminal battery, regardless of whether or not you use a deadly weapon.

Criminal Battery Punishment

The charges for battery, termed assault under the U.S. Code vary at the federal level, depending upon the context.

If you are found guilty of assault/battery with a dangerous weapon in federal court, you could face up to 10 years imprisonment as well as a significant fine. It if can be proven that any battery/assault was conducted with the intent to murder, the penalty increases to 20 years jail time in addition to increased fines.

If you are convicted of simple assault or battery in federal court, on the other hand, you could face incarceration for up to six months. All of these penalties for these charges can increase if the victim is a member of a protected class, such as someone under 16 years of age, the elderly and infirm, and federal agents.

State laws and punishments concerning criminal battery vary. In California, for example, misdemeanor battery convictions can result in a penalty of up to one year in county jail. Convictions under felony battery charges in California, however, result in a prison sentence of between two and four years. Sexual battery, domestic violence and battery against state agents are also treated uniquely from simple or aggravated battery charges in this jurisdiction.

How to Prove Battery

A number of established facts are required to prove criminal battery. Proof that the defendant acted, that the defendant intentionally made contact with the victim and that said contact was harmful or offensive all need to be established to prove battery.

Video evidence, eyewitness testimony and all other substantial evidence might be used to prove charges of battery in court, and a number of common defenses may be applied in response.

Defenses to Battery

As is common in many criminal defense proceedings, declaring your innocence or mistaken identity may be a successful defense against battery charges.

If you’re facing charges of battery, you can provide a strong alibi contradicting the prosecution’s argument, or you can cast doubt upon the evidence.

Claiming that an instance of battery stemmed from an act of self-defense may also be a defense, depending upon the jurisdiction and the evidence provided to substantiate this defense. To a lesser degree, defenses involving the protection of another individual, or of one’s personal property, could be successful strategies in court.

Ultimately, one of the most important things to discuss with your legal counsel is the nature of, and evidence backing, the intent behind an alleged battery charge. While battery does not have an intent component in terms of the damage caused, it does have an intent component in terms of having made contact itself.

What Do Criminal Battery Attorneys Do?

An experienced criminal battery attorney could argue that the contact was accidental, or that the battery was committed in self-defense or in the defense of others. Due to the limited nature of plausible defenses for someone charged with criminal battery, it is important to find an experienced attorney with a demonstrated understanding of criminal battery law if you are accused of such a crime.

Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Criminal battery is a serious crime that can lead to serious penalties, depending on the degree of the assault. For simple battery, the penalty involves payment of damages awarded to the victim by a jury as a form of compensation for the injuries suffered by the victim. The court may also award punitive damages to punish the defendant for the offense.

In cases of more severe criminal battery, the punishment can require hefty fines and imprisonment, and if the crime graduates to the degree of aggravated battery, the penalties can be greater still. If you have been accused of criminal battery, don’t take a chance with the law. Search for an experienced criminal battery attorney in your area today.

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