Aggravated battery is a serious charge that can come with heavy consequences if you’re convicted. While the exact elements, circumstances, and punishments of aggravated battery depend on the state you’re in, it’s almost always a felony.
It’s important to know how you’re being charged and what your charges mean in order to build your defense against an aggravated battery indictment or accusation.
Many states have “simple” battery or “aggravated” battery charges. These categories of battery mean different penalties and requirements for conviction.
Simple battery is usually defined as any unwanted contact, whether it’s harmful or just offensive, from one person to another. It often only results in minor injuries, or even no physical injuries at all; intent to harm usually isn’t necessary in a simple battery case, only the intent to make the contact that led to the harm.
To prove a simple battery, the court typically needs to show that you intentionally made some kind of purposeful, physical contact with another person that offended or harmed them.
A simple battery may be a misdemeanor, with much lighter penalties than an aggravated battery.
Aggravated battery is a much more serious charge. It usually contains the same elements of a simple battery, but the victim’s injuries are typically much more severe under an aggravated classification. Disfigurement, significant damage, or possible risk of death are some of the ways an injury is considered “grave bodily harm.”
Sometimes, if you use a dangerous weapon like a gun or a knife in the battery, it will automatically count as aggravated, even without grave bodily harm.
If the circumstances are severe enough, you could face an attempted murder charge.
How harsh your penalty is for an aggravated battery conviction will depend on where you were when you committed the act.
In most states, a first-time conviction for aggravated battery as a second-degree felony can bring a prison sentence of five to 15 years, though it may be lower or higher in some circumstances.
Serious cases of aggravated battery may be charged as a first-degree offense that could potentially lead to life in prison. Charges are usually bumped up if you’ve been convicted of aggravated battery or another violent offense in the past, if this battery was part of a sexual assault, or if the victim was particularly vulnerable, like a child or elderly person.
Aggravated battery charges can include hefty fines for thousands of dollars. Victims could also bring you to civil court to make you pay for their medical bills and other costs associated with their injuries.
Your defense for aggravated battery needs to start as soon as you’re charged. Any missteps early on in the investigation, such as saying or doing the wrong thing, could decrease your chances of acquittal and increase your penalties. It’s likely in your best interest to find a criminal defense attorney with experience in aggravated battery charges, who knows the process and could help you avoid lengthy prison sentences.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified aggravated battery lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local aggravated battery attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.