Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are two separate crimes. Each may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how the crime was allegedly carried out, the nature of the injuries that resulted and the laws of the jurisdiction. If you are facing a charge of assault or battery, contact an experienced attorney from Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, to discuss your legal rights and options.
What are assault and battery?
Assault is an attempt to injure a person with force or violence. It is also intentionally putting someone in fear or apprehension of such harm. Some jurisdictions include injuring someone in the definition of assault.
Battery is different from assault because it actually results in harmful or offensive physical contact with the victim. Assault may therefore be viewed as an attempted battery.
Usually, battery causes physical injury to the victim. This is not always the case, however. The offensive contact simply may be unwanted touching. Typically, though, a defendant is charged with battery when the alleged victim suffers an injury.
Types of assault and battery; penalties
Assault and battery charges can range from misdemeanors to the most serious felonies. How the defendant is charged can depend on the circumstances of the alleged offense. Many states provide special protection for victims who are members of certain groups that are considered more vulnerable. For instance, the assault of a child can result in a much longer sentence than the assault of a fellow bar patron. Similarly, assault or battery of the elderly; public servants such as firefighters, police and emergency personnel; educators; disabled persons; and pregnant women may be treated more severely by prosecutors. Assault or battery committed because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation may also be treated more seriously.
Assault or battery against a spouse or someone with whom the defendant shares a home or intimate relationship can result in criminal penalties, as well as a restraining order or protective order preventing the defendant from returning to the home or contacting the victim.
Assault and battery that occur during the commission of another serious crime are also treated more harshly. If the defendant is accused of assault while attempting to rob a store, for instance, the penalty is likely to be more severe. Similarly, if the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury during the assault, the sentence may be longer than if the defendant had not intended serious harm.
Some states have “three strikes” laws, which impose enhanced penalties for habitual offenders (typically those with a third felony conviction). If the assault or battery is charged as a felony, the defendant may be at risk for enhanced sentencing.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer
A conviction for assault or battery can have serious consequences, negatively affecting your life far into the future. Each case, however, is unique and offers its own defenses. Contact an attorney from Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, to discuss a strategy for preserving your freedom.
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