ASSAULT & BATTERY
ASSAULT AND BATTERY LAWYER IN SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER CITY
If you are facing accusations of assault and/or battery in Louisiana, you also face significant repercussions and criminal penalties. It’s incredibly important that you take these allegations seriously and equip the help of a skilled Louisiana assault and battery lawyer to defend your rights and protect your future. At each stage of the criminal process, a Bossier City criminal defense attorney like Michael J. Vergis will work aggressively to obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf, whether that’s an innocent verdict, a favorable plea deal, dropped or dismissed charges, or a reduced sentence.
What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Although police officers and prosecutors generally charge assault and battery together, these are two separate crimes. Most often, however, the two occur during the same incident. But what exactly is the difference between assault and battery in Louisiana?
Assault vs. Battery
In Louisiana, assault is the intent or the effort to inflict bodily harm to another person. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the effort was successful. For example, attempting to hit someone with a hand or object but ultimately missing is still legally definable an act of assault.
Assault may also entail any intentional crime committed, whether via a deliberate act or credible threat of action, that generates a reasonable fear of impending harm. For instance, an assault charge may result when a person threatens to strike or hurt another person and seems to have the capacity to carry out such a threat. This, in turn, leads the victim to reasonably believe he or she is going to be hit or wounded.
Meanwhile, the deliberate use of force or aggression against a person, or the intentional giving of a poison or other noxious liquid or material to another, is considered battery. Battery occurs when an assailant acts on a threat of violence by making unwanted physical contact with the victim, including genuine physical injury or otherwise inappropriate physical contact. Think of it this way: assault is the reasonable threat of physical violence while battery requires the action to be carried out.
Penalties for Assault and Battery Charges in Louisiana
If you are responsible for an assault and battery crime in Louisiana, you likely face serious criminal and civil consequences. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions come with a slew of potential penalties. These include difficulty finding work, housing, or further educational opportunities, required counseling, fines and court expenses, and probation and/or jail time.
Of course, the exact penalties you’ll face if you’re found guilty of the accusations against you are determined by the seriousness of the offense in question. When establishing a suitable punishment, the court may examine things such as the circumstances leading up to the incident, the degree of the victim’s injuries, whether or not a weapon was used, the victim’s age, and the motivation behind the attack. What’s worse, an assault and battery conviction is not subject to expungement later on. This means you’ll have a permanent criminal record, too.
Below, we will include specific definitions of the different types of assault charges and battery charges as well as their potential penalties.
Types of Assault and Battery
You may hear assault and battery charges referred to using a number of different terms. Simple assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, misdemeanor and felony assault and battery, and domestic assault and battery are some of the more common types that fall into the scope of assault and battery. We’ll cover the differences in these charges below.
What is Simple Assault?
Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor charge. Under Louisiana R.S. 14 § 38, a simple assault charge is one that is committed without the use of a deadly weapon.
What is Aggravated Assault?
Also a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is defined as the assault against another person that includes a dangerous weapon, such as threatening to attack someone with a harmful instrument, liquid, or substance in a way that may result in death or serious physical harm.
What is Felony Assault?
Felony assault is an assault that involves a firearm and results, as you might have guessed, in a felony. Felony assault can also include the intent to injure a victim by way of adding a dangerous substance to food, drink, or medicine. Other acts of felony assault include:
- Vehicular assault against a law enforcement officer who is in performance of his or her duties.
- Assault against a school employee who is in performance of his or her duties.
What is Simple Battery?
Simple battery is the intentional act of battery committed without a victim’s consent and does not include the use of a weapon or the deliberate inflicting of significant injury or damage.
What is Aggravated Battery?
Someone who commits aggravated battery uses a deadly weapon in the attack. This can result in a felony conviction in Louisiana. As such, it may also be referred to as felony battery. Firearms or knives are, by definition, the more common deadly weapons. Any item, gas, liquid, or substance used in a way likely to inflict death or serious bodily injury may also be a deadly weapon. However, objects such as rocks or tire irons that can be used as weapons and are likely to cause death or significant injury are also considered dangerous and deadly weapons.
Domestic Assault and Battery
Domestic assault and battery may be more widely known as domestic abuse battery. Domestic violence charges in Louisiana may arise when the offender commits battery against a household member. A household member is defined as a person of the opposite sex with whom the offender lives as a spouse or lived with at any time in the five years prior to the offense, a child with whom the offender lives or lived with in the five years prior to the offense, or a child of the offender, whether the child lives with them or not.
A person convicted of a first or second crime of domestic abuse battery will face harsh fines and limitations. The charge becomes a felony after a third or subsequent conviction for domestic abuse. In some situations, such as domestic violence in the presence of a child or criminal battery involving a child or other “special” victim, the court may impose a minimum prison sentence with no option for suspending the sentence. Special victims include any of the following individuals:
- Disabled persons
- Elderly persons
- Healthcare professionals
- Emergency room personnel
- Law enforcement officers
- Correctional officers
- School faculty or employees
- Public transportation drivers
- Athletic contest officials
- Child welfare or adult protective services employees
Battery against any of these special victims often entails a prison sentence without eligibility for probation.
What is the Punishment for Assault and Battery Charges in Louisiana?
The penalties for both assault charges and battery charges in Louisiana depend on a variety of factors, but defendants can likely expect jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record if convicted. In some cases, the victim(s) may also choose to file a civil lawsuit against the defendant in order to seek financial compensation for the injuries they sustained as a result of such assault and/or battery.
Below, our Shreveport/Bossier City criminal defense law firm will list the penalties for the different types of battery and assault charges in the state of Louisiana.
Simple Assault Penalties in Louisiana
Penalties for simple assault in Louisiana include up to 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $200, or both. It may also include probation for up to two years and restitution, which entails compensating the victim for any costs incurred as a result of the crime, such as medical care or counseling.
Aggravated Assault Penalties in Louisiana
Aggravated assault penalties may include imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Felony Assault Penalties in Louisiana
In general, felony charges of assault typically result in a fine of up to $1,000 or two years in prison, with or without hard labor, or potentially both. Vehicular assault against a law enforcement officer who is in performance of his or her duties may result in 1-10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Assault against a school employee who is in performance of his or her duties may bring between 1-3 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Simple Battery Penalties in Louisiana
The penalties for simple battery include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Those convicted of this crime may also face two years probation as well as restitution.
Aggravated Battery Penalties in Louisiana
The consequences for felony or aggravated battery vary depending on the nature of the conduct. Penalties range from a fine of $5,000 to up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor, or both. Even more severe punishments come with the sexually motivated crimes of oral sexual battery or sexual battery against a person 65 years old or older, a child under the age of thirteen (if the offender is 17+), or a victim who is below the legal age of consent or otherwise can provide consent. These penalties range from 25 to 99 years in prison with hard labor. Also, in certain cases of sexual battery, the perpetrator must submit to electronic monitoring for the remainder of his or her life.
Call an Experienced Louisiana Assault and Battery Lawyer Today
A conviction for assault and battery can follow you around forever and significantly affect the course of your life. For example, if you are charged with a different crime at a later date, the court may take your previous conviction into account and impose a heavier sentence for your current case. Those convicted of felony assault and battery may also lose their right to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, carry or possess guns, and hold professional licenses.
Only a Louisiana criminal defense attorney who is experienced in cases similar to your own can give you informed advice regarding your legal options while helping you make the right decisions and defending your rights. As a renowned assault and battery attorney throughout Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana, Attorney Michael J. Vergis will thoroughly investigate your case and the events leading up to the alleged incident, exploring every possible avenue to clear your name–or at the very least, create reasonable doubt.
Do not speak with any police officer or prosecutor regarding your case before speaking with an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis. To make sure you receive the highest level of attention and care for your criminal case or other legal issue, call us at 318-698-3724 or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation today.