aggravated battery
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Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from
assault An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unl ...

assault
which is the act of creating apprehension of such contact. Battery is a specific
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
misdemeanor, although the term is used more generally to refer to any unlawful offensive physical contact with another person, and may be a
misdemeanor A misdemeanor (American English, spelled misdemeanour elsewhere) is any "lesser" crime, criminal act in some common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punishment, punished less severely than more serious felony, felonies, but theoret ...
or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Battery was defined at common law as "any unlawful and or unwanted touching of the person of another by the aggressor, or by a substance put in motion by him." In more severe cases, and for all types in some jurisdictions, it is chiefly defined by
statutory wording
statutory wording
. Assessment of the severity of a battery is determined by local law.


Generally

Specific rules regarding battery vary among different jurisdictions, but some elements remain constant across jurisdictions. Battery generally requires that: # an offensive touch or contact is made upon the victim, instigated by the actor; and # the actor intends or knows that their action will cause the offensive touching. Under the US
Model Penal CodeThe Model Penal Code (MPC) is a model act designed to stimulate and assist U.S. state legislatures to update and standardize the penal law of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United Stat ...
and in some jurisdictions, there is battery when the actor acts recklessly without specific intent of causing an offensive contact. Battery is typically classified as either simple or aggravated. Although battery typically occurs in the context of physical altercations, it may also occur under other circumstances, such as in medical cases where a doctor performs a non-consented medical procedure.


Specific countries


Canada

Battery is not defined in the Canadian Criminal Code. Instead, the Code has an offense of assault, and assault causing bodily harm.


England and Wales

Battery is a
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
offence within England and Wales. As with the majority of offences in the UK, it has two elements: *
Actus reus ''Actus reus'' (), sometimes called the Element (criminal law), external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Latin term for the "guilty act" which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the ''mens rea'', "guilt ...
: The defendant unlawfully touched or applied force to the victim *
Mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
: The defendant intended or was
reckless Reckless may refer to: Film and television Film * Reckless (1935 film), ''Reckless'' (1935 film), an American musical directed by Victor Fleming * Reckless (1951 film), ''Reckless'' (1951 film), a Spanish drama film directed by José Antonio Nieve ...
as to the unlawful touch or application of force This offence is a crime against autonomy, with more violent crimes such as ABH and GBH being punishable under the
Offences against the Person Act 1861#REDIRECT Offences Against the Person Act 1861 The Offences against the Person Act 1861 (24 & 25 Vict c 100) is an Act of the Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Ge ...
. As such, even the slightest of touches can amount to an unlawful application of force. However, it is assumed that everyday encounters (such as making contact with others on public transportation) are consented to and not punishable. Much confusion can come between the terms "assault" and "battery". In everyday use the term assault may be used to describe a physical attack, which is indeed a battery. An assault is causing someone to apprehend that you will commit a battery. This issue is so prevalent that the crime of sexual assault would be better labelled a sexual battery. This confusion stems from the fact that both assault and battery can be referred to as common assault. In practice if charged with such an offence, the wording will read "assault by beating" but this means the same as "battery." There is no separate offence for a battery relating to domestic violence; however, the introduction of the crime of "controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship" i
Section 76
of the
Serious Crime Act 2015 The Serious Crime Act 2015 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown ...
has given rise to new sentencing guidelines that take into account significant aggravating factors such as abuse of trust, resulting in potentially longer sentences for acts of battery within the context of domestic violence.


Whether it is a statutory offence

In ''DPP v Taylor, DPP v Little'', it was held that battery is a statutory offence, contrary t
section 39
of the
Criminal Justice Act 1988 The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c 33) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, ...
. This decision was criticised in ''Haystead v DPP'' where the Divisional court expressed the ''
obiter ''Obiter dictum'' (usually used in the plural, ''obiter dicta'') is the Latin phrase meaning "by the way", that is, a remark in a judgment that is "said in passing". It is a concept derived from English common law, whereby a judgment comprises only ...
'' opinion that battery remains a common law offence. Therefore, whilst it may be a better view that battery and assault have statutory penalties, rather than being statutory offences, it is still the case that until review by a higher court, ''DPP v Little'' is the preferred authority.


Mode of trial and sentence

In England and Wales, it is a usually tried as a summary offence under section 39 of the
Criminal Justice Act 1988 The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c 33) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, ...
. However, where section 40 applies, it can be an additional charge on an indictment. It is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding Standard scale#United Kingdom, level 5 on the standard scale, or both.


Russia

There is an offence which could be (loosely) described as battery in Russia. Article 116 of the Russian Criminal Code provides that battery or similar violent actions which cause pain are an offence.


Scotland

There is no distinct offence of battery in Scotland. The offence of Assault#Scotland, assault includes acts that could be described as battery.


United States

In the United States, criminal battery, or simple battery, is the use of force against another, resulting in harmful or offensive contact, including sexual contact. At
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
, simple battery is a misdemeanor. The prosecutor must prove all three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: # an unlawful application of force # to the person of another # resulting in either bodily injury or an offensive touching. The common-law elements serve as a basic template, but individual jurisdictions may alter them, and they may vary slightly from state to state. Under modern statutory schemes, battery is often divided into grades that determine the severity of punishment. For example: * Simple battery may include ''any'' form of non-consensual harmful or insulting contact, regardless of the injury caused. Criminal battery requires ''intent'' to inflict an injury on another. * Sexual battery may be defined as non-consensual touching of the intimate parts of another. At least in Florida, "Sexual battery means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object": See section 794.011. * Family-violence battery may be limited in its scope between persons within a certain degree of relationship: statutes for this offense have been enacted in response to increasing awareness of the problem of domestic violence. * Aggravated battery generally is seen as a serious offense of felony grade. Aggravated battery charges may occur when a battery causes serious bodily injury or permanent disfigurement. As successor to the common law crime of Mayhem (crime), mayhem, this is sometimes subsumed in the definition of assault, aggravated assault. In Florida, Aggravated Battery is the ''intentional'' infliction of great bodily harm and is a second degree felony, whereas battery that ''unintentionally'' causes great bodily harm is considered a third degree felony.


Kansas

In the state of Kansas, battery is defined as follows: :Battery. :(a) Battery is: :(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person; or :(2) knowingly causing physical contact with another person when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.


Louisiana

The law on battery in Louisiana reads: :§ 33. Battery defined :Battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon the person of another; or the intentional administration of a poison or other noxious liquid or substance to another.


Jurisdictional differences

In some jurisdictions, battery has recently been constructed to include directing bodily secretions (i.e., spitting) at another person without their permission. Some of those jurisdictions automatically elevate such a battery to the charge of aggravated battery. In some jurisdictions, the charge of criminal battery also requires evidence of a mental state (''mens rea''). The terminology used to refer to a particular offense can also vary by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions, such as New York, refer to what, under the common law, would be battery as assault, and then use another term for the crime that would have been assault, such as menacing.


Distinction between battery and assault

A typical Actus reus, overt behavior of an assault is Person A chasing Person B and swinging a fist toward their head. That for battery is A striking B. Battery requires: *a volitional act, that *results in a harmful or offensive contact with another person, and *is committed for the purpose of causing a harmful or offensive contact or under circumstances that render such contact substantially certain to occur or with a reckless disregard as to whether such contact will result. Assault, where rooted on English law, is an attempted battery or the act of intentionally placing a person in apprehension of a harmful or offensive contact with their person. Elsewhere it is often similarly worded as the threat of violence to a person while aggravated assault is the threat with the clear and present ability and willingness to carry it out. Aggravated battery is, typically, offensive touching without a tool or weapon with attempt to harm or restrain.


See also

*Assault (tort) *Assault occasioning actual bodily harm *Battery (tort) *Non-fatal offences against the person in English law *Right of self-defense


References

{{English criminal law navbox Common law offences in England and Wales Crimes Criminology Offences against the person Violence