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What you need to know about Assault and Battery

What You Need To Know About Assault And Battery

A conviction for assault and battery can make you seem in the minds of many people in the same class of most violent criminals.  Many times, an assault charge may be the consequence of an altercation or argument that spiraled out of control, not something that was intended. When the police respond to an altercation, you may think it’s a simple argument or fight, but things can quickly escalate to more serious assault charges at the felony level depending on injuries and if a weapon was involved.  Assault and Battery is a class one misdemeanor that carries up to twelve months in jail and up to a $2500 fine.

What is Assault? Many people are surprised to learn that technically Assault and Battery is not really one single charge.   It is a term of art used to describe the completed act of two separate legally defined actions.  The legal definitions may seem different than the entire term used by the normal everyday person.  An assault is defined as placing someone in reasonable fear of bodily harm, such as having balled up fist while threatening to “kick his ass” or making threatening gestures or motions.  Assault can also include threats while holding something that could be used as a weapon and any associated gestures made while holding that item.  Though there is a lack of contact or actual physical harm, the main element is whether the victim is placed in fear that there will be physical harm.

What is Battery? Going further, a battery is defined as the simple touching of another, whether willfully or in anger; this includes touching done to be rudeness or to insult.  Any physical contact committed without the permission of the victim can be assault.  This can include poking, pushing, slapping, punching, spitting or any unwanted touching – even a hug when unwanted!  This also includes placing things into motion to touch the other party such as throwing something at the victim.  Usually when someone is charged with Assault and Battery in the Commonwealth, the courts generally recognize that the person has committed a battery only as there may or may not be enough time for the intended victim to develop the “fear” element of the simple assault charge.  However, make no mistake, a person can be charged with just simple assault even if they never laid hands on someone.

Telling YOUR side of the story.  As stated before, assault and battery charges tend to arise out of arguments or other small matters.  The actions you take after such an event can have drastic consequences, however.  Many people don’t want to get the police involved but if this has happened you want to make sure the police are there and on YOUR side.  Many times, police investigation into an assault and battery involves talking to witness and collecting evidence at the scene such as the state of an apartment where the alleged assault occurred.  Evidence, such as photos of injuries, needs to be taken immediately or it could be lost.

What happens if the police don’t make an arrest? You or the other person or both of you can head down to the magistrate to take out charges.  Sometimes the police will say the can’t determine what happened between the two of you if there are no witnesses to say otherwise and will instruct both parties to head to the magistrate.  Don’t wait until the other person has filed charges if you believe you were struck first, and you were defending yourself.  It often happens that you and your accuser are the only people who were at the scene of the supposed crime.  Many courts have a hard time buying the later argument of self-defense without strong witnesses to back up your version of the events. Our firm can help you get your side of the story out in court. We can help you prepare a defense to keep your future safe! Call our office today at 757-337-2500.

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