The charge of assault and battery is significant, and the penalties can be severe. While the two charges, in a legal sense, are two separate entities, in many states, the two charges have been merged into a single crime or charge. If you or a loved one is facing this charge, it's important to have a good understanding of what's ahead.
Physical Contact Isn't Necessary
People typically connect assault and battery with physical injuries. So, if you've been charged with this crime and the victim isn't hurt, you might be confused. Battery involves physical harm, but an assault charge can be levied for a verbal threat, as well.
In states where the crimes are merged, you can be charged with assault and battery even if you only threaten physical harm against someone. Throwing something at another person, even if it doesn't touch them, is also assault. Rather than assume their innocence, people should always read about the guidelines concerning a charge and take it seriously.
Arrest vs. Guilt
The role of the police force is to protect the law. When they receive credible data that a person might be guilty of this crime, it's their job to help bring the individual to justice. However, what's important to understand is that an arrest doesn't exactly mean guilt, it simply means there is enough information available at the time to present an accusation of guilt.
Particularly when it comes to charges of assault, prosecutors typically compare the claim against a standard of offensiveness. This standard helps separate claims that are violent or grotesque from those that might just be considered insensitive. If the claim doesn't measure up to the standard, the charges are dropped.
Layout the Scene
Most people are good and mean well, but as humans, there are situations a person can be put in that might make them behave in a way that is they wouldn't normally. It's important to layout the scene to give the judge or jury some context for your actions.
Violence is never the answer and should never be exercised. However, if a defendant can prove that their actions were rooted in self-defense, a judge or jury might view their actions through a different lens. The only way to go about this is to tell the entire truth to your attorney so that he or she can build your case.
Speak with a violent crime defense attorney as soon as possible. An assault and battery charge has the potential to come along with a lengthy prison sentence, so legal counsel is always advised.