Depending on several important factors of the case, assault and battery can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The following are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to assault and battery and how the crimes are viewed in court. Consulting with an experienced attorney such as the Assault Lawyer Fairfax VA locals turn to can help determine whether your case is a misdemeanor or a felony.
Assault and Battery as Separate Terms
Depending on the state’s laws, the legal definition for assault may vary. Assault is most commonly defined as any attempt to either injure someone else or to make an explicit threat to their well-being with physical violence. According to the FBI, assault can be determined as any kind of direct or overt act that would cause a reasonable person to believe that their safety is in danger in any way.
Words alone generally aren’t interpreted as significant enough to constitute an assault, but when backed up by any action or series of actions that put the victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm, assault can be determined as the appropriate charge. Physical contact is not required for the determination of assault, but in any cases where illegal or offensive contact is made, battery is determined as the fitting charge.
Felony Versus Misdemeanor
Generally speaking, the question of whether assault and battery cases are considered felonies or misdemeanors depends on the severity level of the incident. The amount of time that a person convicted of assault and battery stands to serve in prison depends on whether the conviction is a felony or misdemeanor.
It’s important to make sure that the aggravated assault and battery classification is understood in full. An aggravated assault and battery charge is determined when the assault in question causes severe injury or is carried out with a deadly weapon.
In many cases, domestic assault and battery crimes are considered misdemeanors instead of felonies; however, there may be an exception if the victim is disabled or elderly. In addition to the victim potentially being an elderly or disabled individual, aggravated assault and battery may be considered a felony if the victim was pregnant during the attack.
Dangerous Weapon Involvement
Weapons are not limited to guns and knives, and depending on what type of weapon is used, that may affect the charges against the defendant. Even though a person’s foot may not be considered a dangerous weapon under normal circumstances, the court may come to see a person’s foot as a dangerous weapon if it was being used in a fashion that makes it comparable to a deadly weapon. If an individual was thrown through a window, then that window may be considered a dangerous weapon that merits the determination of aggravated assault and battery.
Dismissals and Plea Agreements
In the event that a defense attorney manages to get the domestic assault and battery discharged, the crime may be reduced to the misdemeanor level through a plea bargain. In cases where the court determines there is a lack of evidence, the charge might be dismissed.
Thanks to authors at Albo Oblon LLP for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.