Simple battery is the least serious form of battery and typically involves only minor injury. However, aggravated battery is a more serious crime and is usually charged as a high-level misdemeanor or felony.

What Is Aggravated Battery?

Under criminal laws, “aggravated battery,” also known as felony battery, is one of the more serious types of battery charges. Simple or standard battery is usually defined as the “application of force to another person’s body, resulting in offensive or harmful physical touching.” Aggravated battery involves these elements, along with any of the following aggravating factors:

What are Examples of Aggravated Battery?

Examples of an aggravated battery may include:

  • Striking another person with a weapon or dangerous object
  • Shooting someone with a gun
  • A battery resulting in temporary bodily disfigurement
  • A battery resulting in permanent bodily disfigurement or another serious type of injury

What is an Aggravated Battery With a Deadly Weapon?

Battery with a deadly weapon is treated as an aggravated battery in some states. A prosecutor must prove that the offender used a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime.

An object is a “deadly weapon” if it can likely cause death or great bodily harm. A gun and a knife are, by definition, deadly weapons because they are dangerous and can cause injury. Other objects, such as rocks, bricks, or baseball bats, can be deadly weapons if used in a way that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death.

A person wearing heavy, steel-toed boots could cause serious injury or death if they kick another person while wearing them. Hitting a person while wearing brass knuckles or striking someone with a metal pipe may also be a battery with a deadly weapon because the objects could cause death or severe injuries.

What is an Aggravated Battery Involving Serious Physical Injury?

Aggravated battery based on physical injury typically requires a permanent bodily disfigurement to have taken place. Examples of permanent bodily disfigurement may include permanent scarring to the face or other parts of the body or loss of a body part or sense. A battery resulting in serious injury to a bodily organ, an injury requiring surgery, or a long rehabilitation period may also be considered an aggravated battery.

How is an Aggravated Battery Case Proven?

For a person to be convicted of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must prove every aspect of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence presented by the prosecutor must show:

  • That the defendant intentionally applied the physical force upon the victim
  • That the attack was committed with a deadly weapon
  • That the attack caused temporary disfigurement or serious physical injury

If the aggravated battery was based on physical injury, the prosecutor must present specific evidence of the injury and its severity level. If there was a temporary disfigurement, such as a broken bone, bruise, or scratch, the prosecutor must present evidence of it. The evidence may include photographs or medical records. In cases with more serious injuries, the prosecutor may use testimony from a doctor about the injury and the treatments required for the victim to recover.

If the aggravated battery was based on the use of a deadly weapon, the prosecutor must include specific evidence about the weapon used and how it was deadly. If the object was not a “deadly weapon” by definition, evidence of how the object used caused serious physical injury might be enough to establish the use of a deadly weapon. For example, evidence that an attack by a defendant wearing heavy, steel-toed boots caused serious damage to the abdominal muscles or organs, this evidence would establish the boots as a deadly weapon.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Aggravated Battery?

An aggravated battery will generally be filed as a felony case in most instances. Felonies are usually associated with legal consequences such as heavy criminal fines, mandatory rehabilitation programs, and prison sentences of greater than one year in a prison facility.

Felony battery charges are much more difficult to have removed from one’s criminal record. As a result, this may make it somewhat difficult for the person to obtain certain jobs and federal employment benefit opportunities in the future. They may also lose their rights when it comes to child custody/visitation arrangements. Due to the violent aspect of felony battery charges, the person will usually lose their right to own a firearm.

Are There Any Defenses to Aggravated Battery?

The availability of legal defenses to aggravated battery charges will depend on:

  • The facts surrounding the case
  • The criminal laws in that state
  • Whether anyone was seriously injured

Common defenses available for aggravated battery include self-defense, coercion or duress, defense of others, and intoxication. However, it’s usually best if the defendant and their lawyer can prove that the various elements of proof for aggravated battery were not satisfied.

For example, if the altercation didn’t result in harm to the plaintiff, or if the plaintiff was not a police officer or child, it can change the outcome of the case. These legal distinctions can be very complex and are best handled by an experienced lawyer.

What are the Factors That Judges Consider in Aggravated Battery Cases?

In determining a sentence, judges typically consider the defenses presented by the defendant at trial. The judge will also consider the circumstances surrounding the crime, the seriousness of any injuries that occurred, the type of weapon used, the attacker’s prior criminal record, and in some cases, the victim’s criminal background or relationship with the defendant.

Could a Sentence for Aggravated Battery be Enhanced?

In some states, a battery against a protected victim, like a police officer, elderly person, pregnant woman, or social worker, may carry more severe penalties or be subject to a sentence enhancement. A sentence enhancement allows a court to add extra jail time to a sentence for the crime. In many cases, more severe penalties or sentencing enhancements apply if the deadly weapon used in an assault or battery was a firearm.

Repeat offenders who have committed violent crimes, such as a battery or sexual assault, may face stricter penalties, fines, or sentences. In some states, penalties are even more severe for an aggravated battery involving an automatic weapon, machine gun, or a gun that shoots metal-resistant bullets.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with an Aggravated Battery Case?

Aggravated battery charges are very serious and can result in severe legal consequences. In any criminal case, the defendant has the right to a state-appointed attorney. However, to avoid any client-attorney conflicts, it’s generally recommended to hire your own lawyer for help with your defense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can formulate and represent your defense during court hearings and trials.

By using this link, you can view LegalMatch’s entire database of criminal defense attorneys for free. LegalMatch’s services are always 100% confidential. By narrowing down your search according to the specific needs of your case, you can find an experienced attorney in your area for no cost.