Boiled down, battery is basically just offensive physical contact that harms. Although we frequently hear of assault and battery going hand in hand, they’re actually two separate legal concepts. Unlike an assault charge, battery actually involves touch. Physical contact has to occur for a battery charge to stick. That being said, the variables involved in a simple or aggravated battery charge case can vary widely from case to case, so it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. It’s important to note that the two main elements of a battery charge are criminal intent and the criminal act.
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Three Elements of a Battery Charge
- Intent- Intentional touching
- Harm- The touching was harmful or offensive
- Contact- The victim did not give consent for the touch
Battery: Criminal Intent
Did you intend to physically hurt somebody or cause that person physical harm? This is one of the main elements of a criminal battery charge. Although the burden of criminal intent is only necessary in a criminal case, it is possible to win a civil case of battery without proving malicious intent. They might only need to prove that you intended to physically touch the other person.
Battery: Criminal Act
The second element of a battery charge is the criminal act. This is the actual act of touching and harming another person. This means you either put your hands on somebody or used a weapon to cause an injury to another person. This can be a direct or indirect act depending upon the situation. Maybe, you failed to stop for a school bus and hit a child. Perhaps, you slugged somebody in a bar fight. These acts are the second half of a battery charge.
Battery without Intent
Although we talked about the two main elements of a batter charge being criminal intent and the criminal act, it is possible to arrest and convict somebody for battery without criminal intent in certain special situations. These situations involve criminally reckless or negligent behavior. If you’re acting with complete criminal disregard to public safety, you can still get charged with batter. It doesn’t matter if you meant to hurt somebody or not. If you’re acting in a negligent manner that would be likely to cause harm, that will do in place of intent in many jurisdictions.
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Different Types of Battery
- Simple Battery
- Sexual Battery
- Family-Violence Battery
- Aggravated Battery
- Assault and Battery
What about Mutual Combat or Self Defense?
The circumstances of your particular battery charge will vary depending upon the exact reason you were arrested. Were you in a bar fight with other consenting adults? Were you attacked by an aggressor only to fight back in self defense? Your lawyer will work with you to determine exactly what happened and try to straighten the whole situation out. Nobody deserves to be convicted for battery for defending one’s self. You can’t be held accountable for protecting yourself after an attack.
Felony Aggravated Battery
A simple battery charge can become a felony aggravated battery charge for a variety of reasons. If a deadly weapon was involved or if certain victims were involved, a battery charge will be considered aggravated. Because all cases are different, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. Sometimes, you can get charged with felony aggravated battery for just the implication of a weapon. The presence of the weapon could be totally irrelevant to the prosecution’s case.
Special victims that can turn a misdemeanor simple battery charge to a felony aggravated battery charge include children, the elderly, government officials, pregnant women and disabled people. If you’re not sure if the person you are charged with battering is a special victim, ask your lawyer. In some jurisdictions, not stopping for school buses or slowing down in school zones can mean an automatic felony aggravated battery charge. It really depends on the situation, and each situation is different in Jackson and the surrounding areas.
When to Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jackson
If you or a loved one is facing simple misdemeanor battery charges or aggravated felony battery charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately. While there’s nothing wrong with public defenders, they are simply too overburdened with cases to give your case the kind of attention it needs. This is your future at stake. Don’t count on your public defender having the time or resources available to dedicate to your freedom. Contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a case evaluation today.