The definition of Battery, is when you intentionally touch another person, in anger, or if you intentionally use force or violence against someone else. For example, grabbing a victims arm, or punching/person/striking a person with an object – these are all examples of crimes of battery.
Simple battery is the least serious of the forms of battery, and usually only involves a minor injury. It’s normally considered a petty misdemeanor. Aggravated battery involves situations that make the crime more serious. It is normally charged as a full misdemeanor or as a felony.
Examples of aggravated battery can be:
- striking someone with a weapon/object that is dangerous
- shooting someone with a gun
- battery resulting in temporary/permanent disfigurement or other types of serious physical injury,
What Is a Deadly Weapon
Committing battery with a deadly weapon is treated as an aggravated battery in many states. In order to meet this qualification, it requires that the offender have used a deadly weapon while committing the crime. An object is considered a deadly weapon if it can possibly cause death or great bodily harm. Examples include: guns and knifes. Even simple objects, like a rock, or a brick, can constitute a deadly weapon, if the object is used in a manner that could have caused bodily injury or death.
Proving the Case and Possible Defenses
In order for the prosecution to get a conviction, the prosecutor must every prove multiple elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence must show:
- The defendant intentionally applied physical force upon the victim
- The defendant committed an attack with what can be perceived as a deadly weapon at the time
- The attack caused some form of serious injury
In order to prove that the victim suffered an injury, the prosecutor must present evidence that includes photographs of injuries, like bruises, scratches, stitches, or anything else that is evidence of injuries occurring. In the event of serious injuries, the prosecutor may elect to get an expert witness, such as a doctor, who will give testimony about the pain incurred by the victim.
Defending Against Aggravated Battery
If you’re the defendant in an aggravated battery case, there are a number of defenses you may claim. For example, a defendant may claim self defense or the defense of others, and present evidence that the defendant was defending himself, or another person, from an attack by the alleged victim. For example, if the defense can show that the alleged victim struck the first blow, this may vindicate the defendant.
Another possible defense is that the defendant’s actions were an accident, and that there was no criminal intent. For defendants who suffer from mental disabilities, an insanity defense is possible as well.
Penalties For Aggravated Battery
Aggravated battery based on temporary disfigurement is a misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail. Aggravated battery based on serious physical injury, or the use of a deadly weapon, is considered a felony, and it can be punishable with a prison sentence ranging from 1 to 25 years in prison. It depends on the state. In each case, the judge will have discretion on the length of the sentence.
Factors That Judges Consider When Sentencing
When determining the sentence, judges consider a number of factors. Judges will look at things such as: defense presented by defendant, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the extent of the injuries, the weapon used, and in addition the defendant’s prior criminal record.