What is Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery charges differ in each state. With that being said, in general, assault and battery is committed in the following situations.
First, assault and battery includes someone trying to do something physical to strike or touch another person. Second, assault and battery includes someone committing an act of threat to scare another person who might then fear immediate harm.
Aside from general assault and battery, there is also something called aggravated assault and battery. Aggravated assault and battery tends to be more violent and cause more harm to the victim. For example, someone may be prosecuted for aggravated assault or battery if they cause more severe injuries to another person or if they use a deadly weapon to cause severe injury.
Both of the scenarios listed above are deemed criminal laws. But in some cases, assaults and batteries may be pursued by the state as civil laws. Below, we will go into detail about the exact definitions and requirements of both assault and battery.
What is the definition of assault?
Again, each state has a different definition of assault. But in general, assault means an attempt to hurt another person. In some cases, this can include threatening behavior and outright threats against someone else. One could also say that assault refers to an attempt at battery. This means that for assault charges to actually be brought to court, it is not necessary for actual contact to occur. A simple threat or attempt at battery will suffice to bring a case to court.
What is the definition of battery?
Once again, each state has different definitions of battery, and each jurisdiction within the state may have different statutes defining what battery is as well. Typically, however, battery is looked at as the actual touching of another person that is intentional, harmful or offensive. In addition, this intentional, harmful or offensive touching is done without the consent of the other person.
More particularly, there are three principles that will lead to a battery charge. First, whatever touching occurs was intentional. Second, the touching that occurs is offensive and harmful. Finally, the victim of the touching had not given consent for the touching.
Some people assume that if a simple battery charge was brought against someone, that person intended to harm the victim. But in fact, many people are surprised to learn that if the charge is only battery and not assault, there is no requirement that the offender intended to harm the person being touched.
What battery essentially boils down to is harmful or offensive contact with another person. Most of the time, this refers to obvious situations where someone physically attacks another person or harms them in some way with a weapon. For example, if someone punched another person or tried to stab them, this would be battery. But even a slight shove, which would be constituted as minimal contact, could be considered battery as well.
There also is no requirement that the victim of the touching was actually seriously injured. For example, it is not a requirement that you show medical records of injury when someone hits you. Simply hitting you would generally be considered battery. With that being said, bringing a case of being shoved to court and you didn’t have serious injuries might not play out as a particularly aggressive contact situation.
The combination of assault and battery
Finally, it is important to note that some jurisdictions in the United States have decided to combine the acts of battery and assault. This has created one single offense of assault and battery. They have done this because as you can see, the two offenses of assault and battery are extremely closely related. Moreover, when someone intends to hurt another person as in an assault case, they may very well hurt the other person, which would be considered battery. In other words, the two go hand-in-hand in these cases most of the time.
If you think that an assault or battery threat or action has occurred against you or a loved one, it’s important that you contact a lawyer to bring a case like this to court. Laws against assault and battery have been established to protect citizens like you.
Battery on a spouse
Are you currently involved in a domestic violence dispute? Perhaps your husband or partner has been abusing you? Or, perhaps you are the spouse or mate that has been accused of battery? In New York the courts do not differentiate between domestic violence offenses and other violent crimes — making it absolutely necessary to have a criminal defense firm on your side. Read on to learn what to expect as you pursue a case in New York criminal or family court.
If you have been assaulted by your spouse or partner, you can file an order of protection from either your local New York criminal or family court. In New York, domestic violence cases can be pursued in either court or simultaneously. The order of protection will legally prevent the defendant from coming into contact with the victim and any children involved without a severe penalty — including jail time.
Charges and Convictions
There are several charges that can be brought against the defendant accused of battery of a spouse or partner. One is first-degree assault, in which the defendant is proven to cause cause serious injury or in fact, does cause injury using a deadly weapon or a dangerous object. A conviction of first-degree assault is a felony and can lead to retweet 5 and 25 years of prison time and a fine of $5,000 or less. Another charge is third-degree assault, in which the defendant both intends to cause harm, causes injury reckless or via negligence causes harm with a deadly weapon or dangerous object. A conviction of third-degree assault is a misdemeanor and can carry up to a year or less of prison time and and a fine of $1,000 or less.
Stalking and Stragulation
Under the battery category of domestic violence is stalking and strangulation as well. Both are punishable in a court of law as they can cause severe physical harm to the victim. These two charges are considered class A misdemeanors and are likely to get the convicted defendant up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Are There Defenses?
Cases of battery of a spouse or a partner are particularly difficult and detailed. There are some defense factors that come into play in the court when deciding on the nature of the battery. For example, was the defendant who is accused acting in self-defense against the partner or spouse? Was the battery justified in any way, in other words. In addition, was there a dental or medical reason the defendant felt the need to participate in harm to the victim — such as in the case of strangulation. Finally, is the accused facing a mental health issue that perhaps led to the battery of the spouse. Each of these areas will be considered by the defense in determining the nature and motivation of the battery of the spouse or mate in New York court.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the battery case before you, you aren’t alone. Hundreds of spouses take up charges in family and criminal courts in New York over battery and domestic violence cases. The first step is knowing the resources to turn to when you need help quickly. It’s not easy to navigate the nuance of criminal law or to always understand your rights. So make sure you have the best resources at your side. Contact us today for a free consultation. If you are considering a divorce, consult our divorce attorneys in NYC today.