Understanding Aggravated Assault and Battery
Any competent criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas will explain that what we usually refer to as “aggravated battery assault” are really two separate offenses against a person that when used in one expression may be defined as any unlawful and not permitted to touch another. Aggravated assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat. Battery is a harmful or offensive touching of another. Battery is said to be ‘aggravated’ when a person either tries to or does cause severe injury to another, or causes injury through use of a deadly weapon.
The main difference between the aggravated assault and battery is the existence or nonexistence of a touching or contact. While contact is an essential element of battery, there must be an absence of contact for assault. The state of Nevada defines assault as any attempt to cause force against another, or an act with intent of placing a victim in reasonable fear of physical harm. Although not explicitly stated, aggravating-type circumstances incur different charges and penalties, and include victim-specific assaults and assaults employing a deadly weapon.
Victim-specific assaults carry enhanced felony penalties and sentences. Assaults on the following people are victim-specific assaults: judiciaries, politicians, law enforcement officers, public transportation drivers, firefighters, healthcare professionals, school employees, sports officials and taxi drivers. Assault with deadly weapon, or present ability to employ deadly weapon, carries a separate charge, including categorization as a felony offense. Sexual assault, including sexual assault by spouse, as well as domestic violence based assaults, neglect and other specific acts of assault are covered under separate sections of the criminal code, and in turn, incur separate schedules of penalties.
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Battery, on the other hand, under Nevada state law NRS 200.481, is defined as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. Battery can occur against another adult (18 years of age or older) or a minor (anyone under 18 years of age). Battery can be classified as either simple or aggravated. Simple battery is the knowing or intentional use of force to cause injury or an offensive touch, and is generally a misdemeanor. For example, one punch from a perpetrator that causes mild bodily injury is usually considered simple battery. Likewise, holding a victim in order to touch them in a non-consensual, sexual way is considered simple sexual battery.
Aggravated battery is generally classified as a felony and involves the intentional or knowing infliction of serious bodily injury upon the victim. Under state law, serious bodily injury involves death, extreme pain, disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function. Punching another repeatedly causing injury and extreme pain is usually considered to be serious bodily injury. Certain factors can be used to elevate a simple battery to an aggravated one, even when serious bodily injury is not present. When the victim is a member of a protected class, such as a police officer, teacher, judge, prosecutor or child, the crime will be charged as an aggravated battery, regardless of the injury caused. Likewise, if the battery occurred in a public place such as a school zone or a transit station, or involved a deadly weapon, the battery will be considered an aggravated one, even if there was no serious injury.
Many people mistakenly use the terms “assault” and “battery” as well as “battery assault” and even “aggravated battery assault” interchangeably in the context of criminal law, but they are, in fact two distinct offenses, both subject to certain aggravating factors. If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery or “aggravated battery assault”, it is imperative to seek out professional legal advice from your criminal defense attorney to make sure your case is presented in the best possible light. As with any criminal defense, winning your case depends on proving your facts right. For this to happen, you need a Las Vegas domestic violence attorney who can put in the time needed to gather witnesses and other evidence in support of your side of the story.