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The difference between assault and battery

On Behalf of | May 10, 2019 | Firm News |

Lawmakers in South Carolina continue to crack down on those convicted of assault or battery. Earlier this year, lawmakers passed H.3063, which makes it a felony to threaten or assault someone on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or other protected factors.

Many people face charges of assault and battery each year to the point where many in the general public assume they are the same thing. However, each has distinct characteristics, and each requires a different type of defense. Understanding the key differences will allow someone on trial to comprehend each defense and why it is best for each given crime.

What is the primary difference?

Assault relates to the threat of violence while battery is the actual act of hurting someone else. Therefore, you can threaten someone with violence without actually hurting him or her and still receive charges of assault. A person can receive charges for one of these crimes or both if the threat of violence eventually came to fruition with actual harm.

What are the different degrees?

South Carolina recognizes four different variations of assault and battery. They include:

  • Assault and Battery – 1st Degree
  • Assault and Battery – 2nd Degree
  • Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree
  • Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature

A person will receive higher charges based on extenuating circumstances. For example, if a person assaults someone else with a weapon, then that individual will likely receive assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charges.

What are the defenses?

It is possible to fight both charges in court, but you will need an experienced attorney who knows the law inside and out. For example, the court may drop the charges if you can prove the other party consented to a fight. Another defense is to prove the assault and battery only occurred out of self-defense or to protect personal property.