South Carolina Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
It is important that those who receive assault and battery charges be aware of the severe consequences that may follow a conviction. Depending on the nature of the offense, a conviction for assault and battery in South Carolina could result in the perpetrator serving many months or years in prison, not to mention the many other criminal and personal consequences that follow suit. If you’ve been accused or charged with assault and battery, even if you are innocent, it is imperative that you retain the services of a qualified South Carolina assault and battery defense attorney to safeguard your rights and freedom.
In every case she takes on, experienced criminal defense attorney AnneMarie Odom meets the charges brought against you with a strong defense strategy and aggressive representation. She will carefully investigate your case and explore all your legal options while working to prove your innocence or otherwise reduce or dismiss your assault and battery charges. To retain the help of a top South Carolina assault and battery attorney, call AnneMarie Odom Law today at (864) 775-5833 or complete our online intake form to schedule an appointment. Remember, the sooner you act, the better your chances of a favorable outcome.
What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery are two offenses that are frequently performed or accused in conjunction with one another. Both refer to an offense that occurs when a person unlawfully injures, attempts to injure, or threatens to injure another person. So, what is the difference between assault and battery charges, if any? Assault charges are crimes that occur when a defendant threatens violence on another person, while battery charges refer to inflicting actual injury upon another person. South Carolina assault laws, as well as laws in many other states, combine assault crimes with battery crimes, categorizing them as a single charge.
Types of Assault and Battery Charges
Though these two offenses are combined into a single charge, an assault and battery charge may have many different degrees and aggravating factors that ultimately determine the punishment. We’ll cover the different levels of SC assault and battery charges below.
Assault and Battery 3rd Degree South Carolina
Third-degree assault and battery, also referred to as SC simple assault charges, fall into the lowest level of severity when it comes to these types of charges. This is because assault in the third degree often entails minor injuries and/or violence.
A person may be charged with third-degree assault and battery if they cause or attempt to cause minor injuries or threaten to injure another person with the power to hurt them. A third-degree assault and battery conviction is a misdemeanor and typically carries a short jail sentence and a relatively small fine. However, the conviction will still appear on a person’s criminal record and may make it difficult for them to get work or housing in Greenville or elsewhere.
Assault and Battery 2nd Degree South Carolina
Second-degree assault and battery is similar to third-degree with one distinctive difference. This difference is that the harm or injury that occurred (or attempted) must meet a certain standard or level of injury: moderate bodily injury. According to S.C. Code § 16-3-600(a)(2), moderate bodily injury is defined as “physical injury that involves prolonged loss of consciousness, or that causes temporary or moderate disfigurement or temporary loss of the function of a bodily member or organ, or injury that requires medical treatment when the treatment requires the use of regional or general anesthesia or injury that results in a fracture or dislocation.”
State law goes on to say that moderate bodily injury DOES NOT include bodily harm that requires one-time treatment rather than extensive medical care, including scratches, cuts, bruises, and the like. Second-degree assault and battery is still a misdemeanor offense in South Carolina, but carries more severe consequences like longer confinement times and heftier fines.
Assault and Battery 1st Degree South Carolina
When the crime of assault and battery in the first degree occurs, it becomes a felony offense. To be classified as first-degree assault and battery, the defendant must have inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim. Also found in § 16-3-600(a)(1), great bodily injury is defined by the state as “bodily injury which causes a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
Other factors that when present may result in a first degree assault charge include:
- Injuring a victim and touching the victim’s private parts with lewd and lascivious intent;
- “Private parts” refer to the genital area, buttocks, or breasts of a female.
- “Lewd and lascivious intent” refers to sexual conduct that is offensive to public standards of decency.
- Injuring a victim during the commission of a kidnapping, robbery, burglary, or other theft crime;
- And injuring a victim with the means to kill them or produce great bodily injury.
Though first degree assault and battery is a very serious crime with severe penalties, it is still a lesser included offense than the charges we will describe below.
SC Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature
In South Carolina, aggravated assault and battery charges are referred to as “Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature,” or ABHAN for short. In order for a person to be convicted of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, a few key elements must be met. These elements are what are known as aggravating factors. Aggravating factors in South Carolina include the actual infliction of great bodily harm or injury as well as the fact that the act is accomplished by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury.
ABHAN is a lesser included crime of attempted murder, which means it’s included in an attempted murder indictment. However, this does not necessarily mean that aggravated assaults are always murder attempts.
What are the Penalties for Assault and Battery in South Carolina?
Below are the penalties for the different degrees of assault and battery in South Carolina, as established by the state code:
- Third Degree Assault and Battery – Up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.
- Second Degree Assault and Battery – Up to 3 years in jail and $2,500 in fines.
- First Degree Assault and Battery – Up to 10 years in prison.
- Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN) – Up to 20 years in prison.
Greenville Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
If you are being investigated or have been accused of assault and battery and your rights and freedom are on the line, we realize how important our job is and what our hard work can do for you. Call South Carolina violent crimes attorney AnneMarie Odom today at (864) 775-5833 or complete our online intake form to set up an appointment.
Contact a Greenville assault and battery defense attorney at AnneMarie Odom Law to discuss your situation and work towards building the best possible defense for your case today.
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