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Sahn Law Firm - Attorneys at Law

How Are Assault And Battery Charges Defined In South Carolina?

In South Carolina, if you injure someone, attempt to injure someone, or cause someone to fear that you will injure them, you can be charged with Assault and Battery.

What Are the Different Levels or Classifications of Assault and Battery?

There are four different degrees of assault and battery in South Carolina:

  • Assault and Battery in the Third Degree (also known as Simple Assault) occurs when a person unlawfully injures or attempts to injure another person.
  • Assault and Battery in the Second Degree occurs when a person unlawfully injures or attempts to injure another person and causes moderate bodily injury to that person. This charge also includes the non-consensual touching of private parts either under or above a person’s clothing.
  • Assault and Battery in the First Degree occurs when a person unlawfully injures another person by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury. The charge includes injuries incurred during the commission of a robbery or kidnapping. First Degree also covers nonconsensual touching of the private parts with lewd and lascivious intent.
  • Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN) is considered a lesser offense of attempted murder and includes grievous bodily harm to the victim.

Each charge has its own attributes and penalties as codified in law. In South Carolina, Assault and Battery in the Second or Third Degree are classified as misdemeanors. Both Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN) and First-Degree Assault and Battery are classified as felonies.

What Factors Might Enhance These Charges (Weapon, Intent, Etc.)?

In general, the degrees of severity of Assault and Battery are assigned in South Carolina based on how badly the victim of the Assault and Battery was injured during the alleged crime.

What Should Someone Do If They’re Being Falsely Accused of Assault and Battery?

Assault and Battery is a serious crime. People are usually physically harmed or injured due to someone else’s intentions and actions. Not only can a person be physically harmed or injured, but their mental state can also be greatly affected. It is important to note that the law has stringent and harsh penalties when it comes to Assault and Battery for that reason. In South Carolina, Aggravated Assault and Battery and Assault and Battery in the First Degree are considered felonies, while Second- and Third-Degree convictions are misdemeanors. But make no mistake, a conviction of any kind will appear on a criminal record for life, even a misdemeanor.

If you have been wrongfully accused or charged with Assault and Battery, the stakes couldn’t be any higher. A conviction can ruin your life; fortunately, however, you also have the rights to a defense. And just because you were arrested and charged, it does not automatically make you guilty. That is why it is crucial to contact a Charleston, SC, Assault and Battery attorney as soon as you are charged. At Sahn Law Firm – Attorneys at Law, we have years of experience defending clients accused of Assault and Battery. We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights.

Not all Assault and Battery defendants are guilty of the offense. In fact, a lot of people are falsely accused of the crime, especially in domestic violence cases. According to a report by the organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), more than 700,000 people are wrongfully arrested each year for domestic violence alone. This means that if you have been falsely arrested or charged with Assault and Battery, you are not alone.

There are a number of reasons why an individual can be wrongfully charged with Assault and Battery. One of the most common reasons, for instance, is self-defense. A person has the right to self-defense, but often, police officers can make a bad judgment call at the time of the arrest and charge a person trying to defend himself or herself with Assault and Battery during a dispute. If a person acted in defense of another person, it could also be used as an argument against being wrongfully accused or charged. For that reason, contact a Charleston, SC, Assault and Battery attorney right away if you have been arrested.

Here are some important things for you to know if you’ve been falsely arrested for Assault and Battery. First, you should avoid talking to the police. The police are not there to help you if you seem to have been the one who intentionally harmed the other person without reason. Once an arrest is made, you have the right to remain silent. You do not need to talk to the police. Any statements that you give them can potentially harm your case.

If you are able to gather information regarding your case, it can significantly help. Your Charleston, SC, Assault and Battery attorney can use all the information you gathered to put together a solid defense. Any pictures, witnesses, and written details can be extremely beneficial, in addition to the resources that your Charleston, SC, Assault and Battery attorney will provide.

What Does Assault or Assault and Battery Against Certain Victims or for Certain Purposes Mean?

In South Carolina, an Assault and Battery committed against a family member or household member will fall under the charge of Domestic Violence, which is defined in the state as a physical assault, an attempted assault, or the threat of assault against a household member (meaning a spouse or anyone with whom you now or previously lived or had a child). Because physical assault means unwanted or sexually inappropriate touching, the state does not require actual injury.

Similar to Assault and Battery, Domestic Violence charges can have very serious and life-lasting consequences, with Criminal Domestic Violence if a High and Aggravated Nature (CDVHAN) considered a felony offense. Criminal Domestic Violence can be aggravated to CDVHAN by the presence of a weapon or serious bodily harm or assault. The state of South Carolina takes these charges very seriously and will often decide to prosecute, even when the victim of the alleged violence recants or refuses to testify.

How Does the ‘Degree of Injury’ a Victim Suffers Affect an Assault and Battery Charge in South Carolina?

You can be charged with Assault and Battery in the First Degree (which is a felony offense) if you injure another or attempt to injure another, and the assault involves touching private parts under or above clothing with lewd intent. If the Assault and Battery happened during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft in South Carolina, that act would also be classified as Assault and Battery in the First Degree. Finally, if you intended to cause great bodily injury (as opposed to actually causing injury) as defined in ABHAN, you can be charged with Assault and Battery in the First Degree.

If the person you injured suffers moderate bodily injury and needs surgery or treatment of his or her internal organs because of the injuries you caused, you can be charged with Assault and Battery in the Second Degree. Also, threatening moderate bodily injury is cause for a Second-Degree charge. Nonconsensual touching of the private parts of another person (either under or above clothing) can also result in a Second-Degree charge and, if proven, conviction.

In South Carolina, if you injure (even minimally where skin is barely broken), attempt to injure, or cause someone to fear that you’ll injure them, you can be charged with Assault and Battery in the Third Degree.

Does a Victim Have to Be Injured for an Assault to Have Occurred?

Just like with Domestic Violence charges, an actual injury does not have to have occurred. If you attempted or intended to injure them or if the victim was fearful that you would injure them, then you can be charged with Assault and Battery.

What Penalties and Sentencing Requirements Are There for Assault and Battery Convictions?

Penalties for assault and battery include jail time and fines, as shown below:

Assault and Battery ChargeJail TimeFine
High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN)Up to 20 yearsN/A
1st DegreeUp to 10 yearsN/A
2nd degreeUp to 3 yearsUp to $2,500
3rd degreeUp to 30 DaysUp to $500

What Possible Defenses Are Used in These Cases? Is Self-Defense Ever a Good Defense?

There are many potential defenses to be used in these cases if you have an experienced, aggressive attorney who knows the law inside and out. Police officers and prosecutors can make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can result in dropped charges, if your attorney knows how to capitalize on them. Charges can also be dropped if you and your lawyer reach a plea deal to a lesser offense with the prosecutor in your case. Furthermore, self-defense often can be utilized as an outright defense if the evidence supports it.

Is Assault and Battery a Felony in South Carolina?

Assault and Battery encompass a wide range of crimes, anything from a scrape to great bodily harm, a threat of violence to an injury that is likely to cause death. A person can be charged with Battery, Assault, or both. An Assault happens when the offender intends to do harm to another person. Battery (physical contact) results in the unlawful touching of another person without their permission, and there is a likely possibility that the intended touching might cause injury.

In South Carolina, Assault and Battery is a serious felony charge. The degree of Assault, again, depends upon the severity of the injury. First Degree is a felony charge, while Second- and Third-Degree charges are categorized as misdemeanors. For that reason, having a South Carolina criminal defense attorney by your side is critical to helping you and your family throughout the whole process when you’ve been accused of any alleged crime.

When Should Someone Hire a Legal Attorney?

Hire a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina the moment you are charged with Assault and Battery. It is important to remember that the law gives you both Constitutional and civil rights, which may protect you from a wrongful Assault and Battery charge if correctly applied by an attorney. Therefore, it is important to seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can help you throughout the criminal justice process and will give you the best chance at a good outcome.

What Is the Penalty for Simple Assault in South Carolina?

The penalty for Simple Assault in South Carolina is severe. If you are charged with Assault and Battery, then it is important to consult an experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney, who can explain your alternative options as well as help you plan the best defense possible.

The penalties for Assault and Battery are laid out in the law. The severity of the charge decides the amount of the fine and the duration of jail time. Let’s shed some light on the varying degrees and the proposed penalties in the books of law:

  • First Degree- up to ten years in jail
  • Second Degree- up to three years in jail, as well as a fine up to $2,500
  • Third Degree, also known as Simple Assault- up to 30 days jail time coupled with a fine amount up to $500

If you are facing an Assault and Battery charge, you need to contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney. Only a criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the evidence against you and build a strong defense for you.

Can Assault and Battery Charges Be Dropped?

In most situations, Assault and Battery charges in South Carolina are not dropped. As per the policy grounds alone, many jurisdictions have zero tolerance for domestic violence abuse. The logic behind this is the assumption that the abuse will progressively worsen, and people involved in those situations will not be able to take any step because of the financial pressure or the pressure exerted by their aggressors. However, it is the discretion of the state to reduce charges or not. In other situations, if the court finds it feasible, it may offer a plea bargain agreement to the defendant, which is more favorable and lenient. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense, but even then, there are no guarantees.

Your South Carolina Assault and Battery attorney

Attorney Michael Sahn and his legal team at the Sahn Law Firm have decades of experience providing top-notch legal representation to those charged with criminal wrongdoing here in South Carolina. We believe that every client is entitled to the absolute best legal defense, and we’ve handled even the toughest criminal matters both in and out of the courtroom.

If you’re facing criminal charges for Assault and Battery, you need a lawyer with extensive trial experience and connections in the right places. When your rights and your freedom are on the line, that’s when we at Sahn Law Firm do our best work because we know that what we do matters.

Located in Charleston, our firm is equipped to handle cases all over South Carolina with aggressive and skilled legal representation. If you are looking for an expert South Carolina Assault and Battery attorney, then Sahn Law Firm – Attorneys at Law is the place for you.

To best serve you, we provide a free initial consultation to discuss the unique circumstances of your case.

For more information on Assault & Battery in South Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 856-2222 today.

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Sahn Law Firm - Attorneys at Law, located in Charleston, South Carolina, provides representation throughout Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Daniel Island, Sullivan's Island, Georgetown, St. George, Hanahan, Santee, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Beaufort. The firm also represents people in the municipalities of Charleston County, Dorchester County, Berkeley County, Georgetown County, Clarendon County and Beaufort County.

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