If you are facing accusations of assault and/or battery in Louisiana, you also face significant repercussions if you do not take these allegations seriously. At each stage of the criminal process, a Louisiana assault and battery lawyer like Michael J. Vergis will work aggressively to defend your rights.

What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

Although officers and prosecutors generally charge assault and battery together, these are two separate crimes. So, what exactly is the difference between assault and battery in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, assault is the intent or the effort to inflict bodily harm to another person. This doesn’t necessarily mean the effort was successful, however. 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 deliberate act or threat of action that generates a reasonable fear of impending harm. An assault may occur when an offender 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 battery. Battery occurs when an assailant responds to a threat of violence by making unwelcome physical contact with the victim, including genuine physical injury or otherwise inappropriate 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 specific 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 each type of assault and battery charge 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, aggravated, misdemeanor, and felony are 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 a misdemeanor that is committed without the use of a deadly weapon. 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.

What is Aggravated Assault?

Also a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is 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 injury. Aggravated assault penalties may include imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

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. This specific crime carries a fine of up to $1,000 or two years in prison with or without hard labor, or potentially both.

Other acts of felony assault include:

  • Vehicular assault against a law enforcement officer who is in performance of his or her duties.
    • 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.
    • 1-3 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both

What is Simple Battery?

Simple battery is 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. The penalties for simple battery include up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Those convicted of this crime may also face two years probation as well as restitution.

What is Aggravated Battery?

Someone who commits aggravated battery uses a deadly weapon in the attack. This is a felony in Louisiana. As such, it may also be referred to as felony battery. Any item, gas, liquid, or substance used in a way likely to inflict death or serious bodily injury may be a deadly weapon. Firearms or knives are, by definition, the more common deadly weapons. However, objects such as rocks or tire irons, among other things, that can be used as weapons and are likely to cause death or significant injury are also considered dangerous and deadly weapons.

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.

Domestic Assault and Battery

Domestic assault and battery may be more widely known as domestic abuse battery. This type of crime occurs 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.

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. Contact the experienced Shreveport/Bossier City assault and battery lawyer Michael J. Vergis today to receive the highest level of attention and care for your criminal case. Call us at 318-698-3724 to schedule your consultation today.