Although every state has slight variations in the language they use, the charges they bring against people and the specific penalties involved, unwanted or non-consensual acts of physical contact, as well as threatening words or behavior, are generally against the law. In South Carolina, the state refers to such actions as assault and battery.
State prosecutors may differentiate between assault and battery as different offenses of varying levels of severity, ranging from misdemeanors to felony offenses. Assault and battery in South Carolina involves either violence or the threat of violence against another person. Many factors will influence the severity of such charges.
Assault and battery in the third degree is the least serious offense
If you find yourself facing allegations of assault and battery in the third degree, there could be a number of reasons for the state to bring charges against you. If you hurt someone or attempted to hurt them in a way that would cause mild physical harm, that could be sufficient grounds for charges of assault and battery in the third degree.
However, those who make credible threats against another person could also face the same charges. The defining factor for whether a threat constitutes assault in South Carolina is whether the person accused had the ability to cause harm when threatening or intimidating someone else.
Moderate bodily harm can constitute assault and battery in the second degree
Those accused of actually hurting someone else and causing some form of significant or lasting injury may face charges of assault and battery in the second degree, as could those who threaten more serious bodily harm. This is an intermediary level of charges, and it can also relate to the non-consensual touching of private parts.
Finally, the most severe form of assault and battery in South Carolina involves assault and battery in the first degree or of a high and aggravated nature, both of which are felony charges. The use of a deadly weapon or causing severe injuries that resulted in great bodily harm are factors that influence these charges.
Anyone facing assault and battery charges needs to explore their options for a defense, including the affirmative defense claim of self-defense or the development of an alibi that proves you are not present at the time of the alleged offense.