What is Assault and Battery?
An assault is an unlawful attempt or forceful or violent offer to do bodily harm to someone. In South Carolina assault offenses are categorized by the level of seriousness. Severity of injury of the assaulted and the mindset of the person being charged is all taken into consideration when deciding how the assaulter will be charged. According to the “Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice” battery is actual physical contact that produces a bodily injury or offense form of contact. While assault and battery are often put together it is possible for assault to be charged without battery and it is also possible for battery to be charged without assault.
First Degree Assault and Battery
First Degree Assault and Battery is defined by assaultandbattery.org as an assault and battery where an injury takes place. There are three different circumstances of first degree Assault and battery. The first category includes the touching of genitals without consent in a crude aggressive way. The second form of first degree assault and battery is injury that happened while theft, robbery, kidnapping, or a burglary was committed. Lastly, the third form of first degree assault and battery is an assault without physical contact. These assaults are ones that were likely to produce death or significant bodily harm or occurred during theft, robbery, kidnapping, or burglary. First Degree assault and battery is a felony in Myrtle Beach that can be potentially be sentenced for up to 10 years behind bars.
Second Degree Assault and Battery
Second Degree assault and battery is classified as a misdemeanor in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. There are two forms of second degree assault and battery listed. The first form results in moderate body injuries or could have resulted in such injuries requiring medical treatment. The second is non consensual touching of genitals. This misdemeanor can result in up to 3 years in prison in Myrtle Beach.
Third Degree Assault and Battery
Third Degree Assault and Battery is often referred to as simple assault or common law assault. This charge is obtained when you injure someone or attempt to injure someone. In Myrtle Beach this degree is also considered a misdemeanor and results in up to 30 days in jail.
What are Legal Defenses for Assault and Battery?
So now that Assault and Battery has been defined by degree and the consequences for the felonies and misdemeanors in Myrtle Beach have been covered, what about defenses for these allegations? Defenses come into play in assault and battery cases because cases can vary in range between simple and complex. There are a few different defenses that can be made for assault and battery cases.
The most common used defense in a case of assault and battery is self defense. In order for self defense to be considered there are multiple requirements. The accused must able to prove that there was an unlawful threat or harm made against them. There must be a reasonable and honest fear that harm was going to be made towards them. The accused must also prove that they were not provocative and was causing no harm. Lastly, the accused has be able to show that there was no chance to escape or retreat from the situation. However, that isn’t all that has to be taken into consideration self defense claims have a handful of limitations. For instance, the amount of force has to equal the threat. Also, you can still be found guilty if the victim was physically no match for them such as, age difference, size, gender, and disabilities.
Defense of others
In this case the individual must have understandable reason to believe the person they were defending was in risk of being harmed. This defense has the same requirements and limitations as self defense claims.
Defense of Property
A defendant in an assault and battery case in Myrtle Beach South Carolina can claim that he or she acted only in defense of his or her property. According to “The Post and Courier” in South Carolina there is a long standing ruled called The Castle Doctrine. This Doctrine basically states that someone’s home is their castle and that no one should have to run away or feel uncomfortable in their own home. However the Doctrine was recently codified by the General Assembly and the new law says that in order for it to be justified the person had to be in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury. When it comes to personal property from an item standpoint there are other rules such as if there is dispute over personal property the owner is not entitled to use force. On the other hand if property is stolen directly from the person such as pick pocketing the person has the right to use reasonable force to recover their stolen property.
Consent is a defense used mostly in prosecutions for sexual assault. When someone gives another consent to an act then the same act can not be charged as assault and battery. However, once the person exceeds the point of the permission provided, it can still possibly be classified as assault and battery in South Carolina. Courts examine the defense of consent very closely and most find that if harmful violations of public policy occur it should be punished under assault and battery or under another law if fitting, even if consented.
What Defenses Can Not be Used?
Assault and battery cases as result to alcohol or drug abuse will not be excused in court. If voluntary intake of drugs or alcohol occurs the defendant cannot blame their actions on the substance. When it comes to the other defenses it’s important to analyze your situation and see which one is your best fit. Our team at David Aylor Law Offices will evaluate your situation to the fullest and get you justice just as we’ve been doing for so many satisfied clients since 2007.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.