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Simple Battery

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What Is Simple Battery?

Simple battery is a basic form of battery that results in criminal charges against the defendant. When the courts use the word “battery”, they are usually referring to simple battery. It is generally defined as:

  • The unauthorized or unlawful use of force
  • To the body of another person
  • Which results in physical injury or offensive touching

Simple battery is usually set in contrast to “aggravated battery”. Aggravated battery has the same elements of proof listed here, but also involves either: the use of a deadly weapon; serious bodily injury to the victim; or injury to a child, woman, police officer, and (in some cases) elderly victims.

Also, criminal battery is distinguished from civil battery, in that criminal battery usually requires that the defended also intended to cause the bodily harm to the victim.

Is Simple Battery a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

In most cases, simple battery will result in criminal misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors usually result in small criminal fines, and/or a jail sentence of one year maximum. They can usually be expunged from the person’s criminal record after some time, and after they have fully completed their sentencing terms.

In contrast, aggravated battery will usually result in a felony charges, and therefore, will carry more severe legal consequences. 

What Are Some Common Defenses in a Simple Battery Case?

Some common defenses to simple battery may include:

  • Self-defense: This is a commonly raised defense; however, the defendant usually needs to prove that they used only the same amount of force that was used against them.
  • Coercion: It can be a defense if the defendant was actually coerced to commit the battery under threat of harm.
  • Intoxication: In some cases, it can serve as a valid defense if the defendant was intoxicated; this type of defense usually addresses the intention aspect of the elements of proof.
  • Lack of evidence: If all the elements can’t be proven through evidence or witness testimony, it may cause the prosecution’s case to fail.

There may be other types of legal defenses available for simple battery. These defenses will depend on the facts involved with the case, as well as the individual state laws governing the criminal case.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Simple Battery Charges?

Simple battery can sometimes lead to more serious criminal consequences, especially if it’s a second or third offense. If you need assistance with simple battery charges, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney right away. Your lawyer can help you with your case and can discuss the various laws associated with your charges. In some cases, felony battery charges can be reduced to simple battery charges, or the charges can sometimes be dismissed, depending on the circumstances.

Photo of page author Adam Vukovic

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-05-2018 12:33 AM PST

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