Battery occurs when an offender causes offensive contact with the victim. There is no degree of harm required, only that the contact would be considered offensive to a reasonable person.
Assault is defined as when a victim reasonably believes that that another person is threatening bodily harm to them. It is important to note that, unlike battery, no actual contact needs to be made for assault charges – it is the belief of the harm in the victim's mind that is important.
While assault and battery charges are typically misdemeanor offenses, there are many ways in which they can be raised to the felony level, including:
- Use of a weapon;
- Victim is a member of a protected class (police officer, disabled person, senior citizen).
- The defendant or another person was threatened;
- The defendant did not provoke the other party;
- Confrontation was unavoidable; and
- Physical action was required for your protection.
If felony charges are pursued by the prosecuting attorney, then they have to prove that one of the aggravating factors existed, beyond a reasonable doubt, in addition to proving the actual assault or battery charge. There are a number of defenses available that an experienced attorney at Michling Plaza & Associates, P.C. can employ to ensure your legal defense.
Since this is often the strongest argument, and since it is frequently claimed by defendants, it belongs at the top of the list. Contrary to popular belief, claiming self-defense is not as simple as most people think. If each of the following criteria is successfully proven, then a valid defense exists:
An attorney experienced with assault and battery charges knows how to successfully prove each element of a self-defense claim. At Michling Plaza & Associates, P.C., our attorneys have gotten assault and battery charges dismissed by proving self-defense.
As defined above, assault charges basically boil down to criminalizing threats. The prosecuting attorney must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim was placed in reasonable fear of imminent danger. If a reasonable person would not have felt threatened, but the victim did, then no assault occurred.
For example, assume the victim absolutely hated being touched by other people. She is at a baseball game when the home team scores a run. Everyone is high-fiving and celebrating when the person seated behind this victim pats her on the shoulder. She freaks out and calls the cops.
Now, assume that the victim is walking down an alley when a stranger spits in his eye. He calls the cops and presses charges.
In the first example, the contact (patting her on the shoulder) was offensive to that person. However, this contact is not considered reasonable by an ordinary person. In this case, there is a valid defense. On the other hand, the contact (spitting in the eye) is something most people would consider offensive and the victim was legitimately assaulted.
Legal Defense Team
Our experienced attorneys have handled numerous assault and battery cases. At Michling Plaza & Associates, P.C., you are supported by a team of legal professionals to ensure that the best protection is brought against these charges. Contact us today for a free consultation and prepare a legal strategy to overcome the allegations.