Assault and Battery in South Carolina

The law has continued to expand on elements of assault and what constitutes criminal charges for bad behavior. If you’ve been handed an assault charge recently, here are some questions you might have and an idea of what you can expect:

What is assault?

Most people think that assault charges only apply to an aggressive person who was willfully and intentionally injured another person. However, assault charges are broadly applied to any type of behavior that may seem threatening to another individual, such as lifting up a fist to attack them and causing them to flinch. Whether or not you actually come into physical contact with that person, if they feared you might have had the intention to harm them, they may bring charges of assault against you. Other types of assault, such as intoxicated assault, can be applied to intoxicated drivers that harmed another person in a car accident. Even though the injury was brought upon by an accident instead of a something like a bar fight, the assault charge is still a felony.

What is assault and battery?

Some states may distinguish between these two charges, but not in South Carolina. Assault and battery is a single charge that can be distinguished as high and aggravated nature, 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree charges, and each one has its own requirements and punishments. 2nd and 3rd degree assault and battery charges are only misdemeanors, while HAN and 1st degree are classified as felonies.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is different than sexual harassment because it includes an element of physical contact, such as unwanted kissing, groping, or any form of sexual activity. However, like other forms of assault, the most important aspect is the perception of the victim. If they feel as though they were placed in a threatening or compromised position where the attacker could have continued with their sexual assault, then physical contact is not necessary to press charges.

Extenuating Circumstances

Assault charges can become complicated, especially when there is a history of conflict between the defendant and the plaintiff. When tempers boil over, things can quickly escalate, leading to a various charges of assault and battery. To address this complexity, the courts assign varying degrees of seriousness to each type of charge. If the assault occurred during another criminal act, such as a robbery, then the charge is much more serious. This is also true for premeditated acts of violence, such as staging an ambush for the victim. Charges that result from an intoxicated fight may be reduced to a lesser sentence if your attorney can prove that the act was a crime of passion. If you were driving a car while intoxicated and caused a serious accident, the charge may be increased to more severe penalty. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional as soon as charges of assault are brought against you. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer will help protect your rights.