A person can face allegations of assault by the state under criminal law or by an individual or group under civil law. Assault usually includes placing another person in fear of imminent harm, though definitions tend to differ by state. However, in all states, assault offenses often involve physical violence. Battery offenses usually include harmful or offensive physical contact with another person.
As with other criminal charges, someone found not guilty of assault may still be liable for civil damages for the same act. If you are facing charges and are concerned about avoiding a conviction, you could get in touch with a North Charleston assault lawyer for advice on achieving your desired outcome.
Degrees of Assault under Local Law
Under §16-3-600 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is a felony involving an action that either causes or is likely to cause great bodily injury or death. First-degree assault and battery, a lesser felony offense, usually involves an additional criminal act (robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft) or a lewd and lascivious act of touching another person’s private parts without consent. It may also occur when someone with the ability to injure another person injures or attempts to injure that person while committing one of the additional criminal acts noted above or in a way likely to cause death or great bodily injury.
First-degree assault and battery can result in up to ten years in prison, whereas second-degree and third-degree qualify as misdemeanors and carry lighter penalties. An individual facing an assault allegation could reach out to a legal professional in North Charleston for advice about seeking a dismissal, a reduced charge, or a not guilty verdict.
Other Assault Classifications in North Charleston
Several assault offenses exist under South Carolina law. The crime of lynching is identified as assault and battery by mob, meaning that there must be two or more participants involved. First-degree assault and battery by mob, which carries a prison sentence of at least 30 years, includes a premeditated act of violence inflicted by a group that results in another person’s death.
In North Charleston, offenses that could otherwise be defined as sexual assault carry labels such as criminal sexual conduct or spousal sexual battery. Under §16-3-652 of the South Carolina Code, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree involves sexual battery involving one of several additional circumstances, which may include:
- Aggravated force
- An offense such as kidnapping, human trafficking, robbery, or housebreaking
- Infliction of mental or physical weakness by non-consensually administering a controlled substance
A conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree could result in imprisonment for up to 30 years. Facing a violence charge should be discussed with a local assault representative to increase an individual’s chances of avoiding a conviction.
Find a North Charleston Attorney Experienced in Defending Assault Cases
While various acts may legally be considered assault, any allegation such as this one carries implications most people would rather avoid. One option for someone facing a criminal assault charge is to seek a conviction for a lesser offense. An attorney familiar with such cases could work to make the long-term consequences of a charge less severe, or even eliminate them altogether.
If you face an assault allegation, you could learn about the strategies for seeking a reduced charge, an alternative sentence, a dismissal, or a not guilty verdict by speaking with a North Charleston assault lawyer. Call today to learn more information so you can make a sound decision about what to do next.