When You Face Charges Of Battery
Battery is defined as the act of nonconsensual violence committed against another individual. It is often charged alongside assault, but the two exist independently and can be charged individually. Assault is the act of threatening to physically harm a victim, while battery refers to the bodily harm done.
Battery is a violent crime, and it is in your best interest to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with battery. At Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, we defend the rights of clients in Appleton and Neenah, as well as those in Door County when they are faced with these serious criminal charges, and we will work to create the best possible results for you in or out of the courtroom.
Actions That Can Constitute Battery
Intent is an important part of a battery charge. Accidentally coming into contact with another party, even if the contact results in injury to the other party, is not an act of battery. Any act of intentionally causing bodily harm to a victim may be charged as an act of battery. This can include but is not limited to:
- Harming with a weapon, which can include everyday items used as weapons
- In certain cases, even offensive acts that do not actually cause physical harm, such as spitting on a victim
When a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm, a taser, a blade, or even an everyday object like a bottle or baseball bat is used to cause or attempt to cause great bodily harm, the court will impose a longer prison sentence.
In addition, whenever an alleged victim is over the age of 62 or disabled, the court assumes the incident caused or could have caused great bodily harm. The burden of proof to show it did not is on the defendant.
Criminal Charges And Penalties For Battery
An act of alleged battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the act. Even within these categories, the amount of harm the victim suffered and other relevant facts determine exactly the charge level the defendant faces.
When an act of battery causes a victim to suffer bodily harm, such as a cut, a bruise or a scratch, the offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this conviction are up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. An individual can face this charge for harming an unborn child.
More substantial bodily harm to the victim means a steeper charge for the alleged offender. When a victim suffers substantial bodily harm, which includes burns, tooth loss, cuts that require stitches or staples, concussions, and bone fractures, the defendant faces a Class I felony charge. The penalties for an individual convicted of a Class I felony include up to three and a half years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalties for a Class E felony conviction include a fine of up to $50,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
When battery is committed against certain victims, it can be classified as a Class H felony. These victims include:
- Judges and their families
- Department of Revenue employees and their families
- Law enforcement officers
- Emergency room workers
- Parole and probation agents
- Ambulance drivers
- Witnesses to criminal offenses
Additionally, battery is charged as a Class H felony when it is committed by a prisoner or an individual institutionalized for sexual violence.
Work With An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of battery, get in contact with an experienced Appleton criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Do this before you are even formally charged – the sooner you can start working on your case’s defense strategy, the better chance you give yourself of having the charge lowered or dismissed. Contact our criminal defense lawyers online or call 920-202-8872 today to schedule your initial consultation.