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Assault and battery is a serious crime that can lead to prison time, fines, and serious collateral damage anywhere throughout the U.S. Fortunately, criminal defense attorneys can provide those accused with options that can lead to mitigated sentences, reduced charges, or even charges that are outright dismissed or dropped.

Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Assault and battery occurs when someone unlawfully injures or attempts to injure someone, given they have the ability to do so in the moment. In South Carolina, the overarching crime of assault and battery is divided into three degrees: first, second, and third.

Third-degree assault and battery charges are the least severe and are charged as misdemeanors. 

Second-degree assault and battery charges are also charged as misdemeanors, but they carry more severe consequences. For an alleged aggressor to be charged with second-degree assault and battery as opposed to third-degree, they must have caused moderate bodily injury or partook in the act of non-consensual touching of a victim’s private parts. 

First-degree assault and battery charges in South Carolina are the most severe. They are applicable when an aggressor injures another in a manner that foreseeably results in great bodily injury. 

Beyond the three degrees of the crime, aggravated assault and battery is also a felony. It is chargeable when the defendant allegedly causes great bodily harm through the use of a weapon or other means that are likely to result in the victim’s death. 

Punishment

Punishment for assault and battery charges depends on the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the victim and (by extension) the charge at hand. 

On one end of the penalty spectrum, assault and battery in the third degree can be punished by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500. On the other end, though, you have aggravated battery in the first degree and aggravated assault and battery, both of which carry penalties of up to ten and 20 years in prison, respectively.

Collateral Consequences

The collateral consequences of an assault and battery conviction can deeply affect one’s life. With a violent criminal record, it is typically difficult to find desired gainful employment. It may also present problems for those looking to acquire a professional degree or further schooling. Housing opportunities may also be significantly impacted by a criminal record. 

Defense Options of Assault and Battery

Depending on the specific facts of a case, various defenses to an assault and battery charge might be applicable, such as:

  • Self-Defense: A reasonable belief of imminent physical harm or death allows one to commit assault and battery as a means of defending oneself
  • Defense of Others: A reasonable belief of another’s imminent physical injury or death allows one to commit assault and battery to protect the person in danger
  • Misidentification: A thorough investigation may reveal a mistaken identity
  • Alibi: An airtight alibi effectively shields an individual from criminal liability
  • Consent: Consent can effectively stop the prosecution in its tracks; if a victim consented to be touched, there was likely no crime committed
  • Accident or Mistake: Proving that one accidentally hurting another can potentially help the alleged assailant dodge a criminal charge (but not necessarily civil liability)

Ultimately, the circumstances of the case will determine the most appropriate defense strategy. Hiring an experienced lawyer as early as possible helps immensely. 

Get the Effective Defense You Deserve

A seasoned criminal defense attorney can protect you from assault and battery charges with an effective criminal defense. The defense attorneys at the Law Office of Mo Abusaft in Spartanburg, SC, are ready to aggressively defend you against the legal consequences of a conviction. Contact us for the effective representation you need.