Assault & Battery
“Assault” and “battery” are terms whose meanings vary by jurisdiction.
Contrary to popular belief, in Arkansas “assault” does not refer to a physical act of violence resulting in injury to another person. Rather, it refers to conduct that creates a risk of such injury and/or death. “Battery,” on the other hand, refers to similar conduct that actually results in a physical injury to another person.
An example to illustrate. Someone throws a brick at another person’s head. If that second person ducks and the brick flies over their head, then the first person has committed Assault. However, if the second person does not duck and the brick hits them in the face and leaves a black eye, then the first person has committed Battery.
The classification of a Battery charge—and thus the potential punishment associated with a conviction—increases with the severity of the injury allegedly caused. For example, a barroom brawl that ended with a few bruises will likely yield a Battery in the Third Degree charge, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, an alleged shooting or stabbing will likely yield a Battery in the First Degree charge, which is a Class B felony carrying the possibility of up to 20 years in prison. A Battery in the First Degree charge may be enhanced to a Class Y felony that carries the potential for a Life sentence when involving a child age four or below or a law enforcement officer.
Battery charges are serious, and convictions frequently result in sentences involving incarceration. Further, a Battery conviction of any kind—even a misdemeanor—cannot be sealed for a minimum of five years, if at all.
Battery cases need to be investigated as quickly as possible in order to maximize the chances of locating witnesses, surveillance or other video recordings, and other favorable evidence. Your attorney needs to get to work immediately building your defense—whether that is seeking to prove an alibi, or seeking to show some kind of justification such as self-defense.
If you or a loved one are facing Battery charges, call our experienced team to start the process of building your defense today!