Assault and Battery in SC – What if I Didn’t Actually Hit Them?

by | Mar 29, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

The young mother was already frustrated, and her baby just kept on crying.

Other people in the restaurant weren’t happy about it, either. Then, when a man complained about the wailing child, she started cursing at him. The man later told police she smacked him in the face.

Next thing she knew, she was being arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery.

The young mother says she “swung” at the man, but the man says she hit him…

Does it matter? Does it matter that she was likely under pressure and stressed to the max when the incident happened?

What does SC law say about assault and battery charges?

Third-Degree Assault and Battery Charges in SC

Does it matter whether she only swung at him or actually hit him?

Not really – under SC law, by telling police she took a swing at him, she has admitted to third-degree assault and battery.

Once upon a time, “assault” meant threatening to hurt someone, and “battery” meant following through on the threat and making physical contact. But now, both offenses fall under the SC crime of third-degree assault and battery, a misdemeanor that is sometimes called “simple assault.”

According to SC law, this offense occurs when:

  • A person unlawfully injures another person; or
  • A person attempts or threatens to unlawfully hurt another person with the present ability to do so.

Conviction can result in 30 days in jail.

Second-degree assault and battery in SC

This more serious charge comes up when the criteria for third-degree assault and battery are met, plus:

  • The accused caused or could have caused moderate bodily injury; or
  • The act involves nonconsensual touching of a person’s private parts, either under or above the clothing.

Conviction can result in up to three years in prison.

First-degree assault and battery in SC

This brings us into felony territory. A person can be charged with this crime when they unlawfully hurt someone and:

  • They touched someone’s private parts without consent, either under or above the clothing, with lewd and lascivious intent; or
  • The act occurred during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping or theft;

If the defendant “offers or attempts” to injure someone by a means that was likely to cause death or great bodily injury they can also be convicted of 1st degree assault and battery, even if the alleged victim was not injured.

Conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison.

Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature

A person can be charged with this felony when they unlawfully hurt someone and:

  • They cause great bodily harm; or
  • The act was likely to result in death or great bodily harm.

Conviction can result in 20 years in prison.

SC Assault and Battery Defense Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston

If you’ve been charged with assault and battery in SC, call your criminal defense attorney immediately – don’t talk to police or make any statements until you have met with your lawyer.

You can schedule a free initial consultation and case review with a Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney at Coastal Law today by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.

Ready to Speak with an Attorney?

Contact Coastal Law to discuss your situation.

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1104 North Oak Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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Conway, SC 29526

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231 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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1201 Main Street, Suite 1913
Columbia, SC 29201

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