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The bar is packed. A rowdy Baylor fan has been insulting your Gamecocks all night long. Then you hear those four dreadful words…

“Let’s take this outside.”

Before you leave that bar, know that in South Carolina, if “let’s take this outside” leads to punches being thrown and injuries inflicted, you could be looking at an assault and battery charge.

Common Questions About Assault & Battery in SC

If you’ve been charged with assault and battery, read on to find out what you can expect and why you’ll need an assault and battery lawyer to go bat for you.

Below are the answers to the most common questions I hear and answer about assault and battery charges. If your question isn’t on the list, feel free to get in contact with me, and we can talk about it.

1. What does assault and battery mean?

In South Carolina, if you injure someone, attempt to injure someone or even cause someone to fear that you’ll injure them, you can be charged with assault and battery.

There are four different levels of assault and battery—high and aggravated nature (HAN), 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree. Each charge has its own attributes and penalties.

2. Is there a difference between assault and battery?

In some states, “assault” and “battery” are two separate charges, but in South Carolina, “assault and battery” is a single charge with four degrees of severity. In general terms, the degrees of severity are assigned based on how badly the victim of the assault and battery was injured during the crime.

3. What is assault and battery with a deadly weapon?

In South Carolina, certain offenses (like assault and battery) are committed with a deadly weapon (any instrument that can be used to kill).

South Carolina law doesn’t have a specific charge by the name of “assault and battery with a deadly weapon.” But of course, committing assault and battery with a deadly weapon in your possession is still possible and punishable by law.

If you do have a deadly weapon while committing assault and battery, your charge could be pushed to a higher degree.

4. Is assault and battery a misdemeanor?

Yes. Assault and battery of the 2nd or 3rd degree are classified as misdemeanors.

5. Is assault and battery a felony?

Yes. Both assault and battery in a high and aggravated nature (HAN) and 1st degree assault and battery are classified as felonies.

6. What is assault and battery in a high and aggravated nature (HAN)?

Causing great bodily injury (a loss of a limb, organ or an injury so serious it could lead to death) is considered assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

7. What is assault and battery 1st degree?

You can be charged with 1st degree assault and battery if you injure another, or attempt to injure another, and the assault involves touching private parts under or above clothing with lewd intent.

If the assault happened during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft, that act would also be classified as assault and battery 1st degree.

Finally, if you intended to cause great bodily injury (as opposed to actually causing injury) as defined in assault and battery HAN, you can be charged with assault and battery 1st degree.

8. What is assault and battery 2nd degree?

If the person you injured suffers moderate bodily injury and needs surgery or treatment of his or her internal organs because of the injuries you caused, you can be charged with 2nd degree assault and battery. Even threatening moderate bodily injury is cause for a 2nd degree assault and battery charge.

Nonconsensual touching of the private parts of another person (either under or above clothing) can also result in a 2nd degree charge and, if proven, conviction.

9. What is assault and battery 3rd degree?

If you injure (even minimally where skin is barely broken), attempt to injure or cause someone to fear that you’ll injure them, you can be charged with 3rd degree assault and battery.

10. Can you go to jail for assault and battery?

Yes, you can go to jail if convicted of assault and battery. The time you spend behind bars depends on the level of assault and battery you’re charged with, as shown in the below table:

Assault and Battery ChargeJail Time
High and aggravated natureUp to 20 years
1st degreeUp to 10 years
2nd degreeUp to 3 years
3rd degreeUp to 30 days

11. What is the penalty for assault and battery?

Penalties for assault and battery can not only land you in jail, but they can also cost you money, as shown below.

Assault and Battery ChargeJail TimeFine
High and aggravated natureUp to 20 yearsN/A
1st degreeUp to 10 yearsN/A
2nd degree*Up to 3 yearsUp to $2,500
3rd degreeUp to 30 DaysUp to $500

*If convicted of 2nd degree assault and battery, you may receive jail time, a fine or both.

12. Is assault and battery on a police officer a felony?

Yes. Assault and battery on a police officer is a felony and can result in jail time, fines or both, as shown below.

ChargeJail TimeFine
Assault and battery on a police officerUp to 10 years$1,000-$10,000

13. What does domestic assault and battery mean?

In South Carolina, “domestic assault and battery” charges do not exist; domestic crimes fall under domestic violence laws.

14. How can you get assault and battery charges dropped?

Police officers and prosecutors can make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes result in dropped charges. Charges can also be dropped if you and your lawyer reach a plea deal with the prosecutor in your case.

15. Can assault and battery charges be dropped by the victim?

No. Because the state is the party responsible for bringing assault and battery charges, the victim does not have the authority to drop those charges. If the victim in the assault and battery case decides not to testify or take part in the case, that can affect the process, but it doesn’t mean that charges will be dropped.

16. Can you sue for assault and battery?

Even though a victim does not bring assault and battery charges in criminal court, he or she can sue for damages in a civil court. Damages associated with assault and battery could include medical bills, costs due to pain and suffering and costs incurred due to lost work.

17. Do I need a lawyer to fight assault and battery charges?

Yes, you do. Assault and battery convictions come with serious jail time and fines in South Carolina. Your life could be forever impacted by a conviction.

Take action to protect your future.

Seeking the help of a criminal attorney as soon as possible is key in an assault and battery case. Give Kent Collins Law Firm a call at 803-808-0905 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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