If you or a loved one has been charged with assault and/or battery in South Carolina, you may be wondering what to expect. Assault charges range from relatively minor offenses to serious felonies. The penalties you face depend on the charges, your criminal record, and the unique circumstances surrounding your case.
Understanding Assault and Battery Charges in South Carolina
Many people use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably. While they often go hand in hand, the terms have two distinct meanings. Assault is the threat of doing intentional bodily harm to another person; battery involves an act of unwanted physical contact. Both assault and battery are classified as assault charges under state law. South Carolina categorizes assault crimes under the following charges:
Third-degree assault. Often called “simple assault,” third-degree assault takes place when a person “unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.” A simple assault charge often results from an altercation in which one party decides to press charges. Common examples of assault in the third degree include slapping, shoving, hair pulling, spitting, scratching, grabbing, and other aggressive acts which do not involve a weapon or result in serious bodily injury. You can be charged with simple assault even if you never touch the victim.
Second-degree assault and battery. Assault and battery in the second degree includes assaults which are sexual in nature and/or assaults that result in moderate bodily injury. Examples of moderate bodily injury include a black eye, bruises, or a bloody nose/bloody mouth.
First-degree assault and battery. Examples of assault and battery in the first degree include sexual battery, assaults that result in great bodily injury, and assaults that take place during a robbery or other criminal act.
Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. This is the most serious assault charge, which results in injury so severe it has the potential to cause death. Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is a slightly lesser offense than an attempted murder charge.
Penalties for Assault in South Carolina
An assault conviction carries the following penalties:
Simple assault/third-degree assault: This misdemeanor charge carries up to one month in jail and a fine up to $500.
Second-degree assault and battery: A second-degree assault conviction could result in up to a three-year prison sentence and a fine up to $2,500.
First-degree assault and battery: Assault in the first degree is a felony which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature: If convicted of this felony, you may face up to 20 years in prison.
Facing Assault Charges? Call a South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney.
Even a simple assault charge can negatively impact your life in serious ways. If you have been charged with assault and battery in South Carolina, reach out to the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA Contact our office in Anderson, South Carolina today to schedule a consultation.
Steven Krause is a personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation lawyer who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated form the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and has been practicing law for 40 years now. Steven Krause believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.
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