Assault and Battery Charges in South Carolina

Simple Assault, First Second or Third Degree Assault and Battery criminal defense lawyer serving the communities of Fort Mill, Indian Land, Rock Hill, York County, Chester County, and Lancaster County in South Carolina.

There are varying degrees of assault charges that a law enforcement officer or investigator can choose from when they decide to charge someone with a crime of assault in South Carolina. From simple assault to attempted murder, penalties for assault crimes range from 30 days in jail to 30 years depending on the type of assault charged. There are very specific elements a prosecutor must prove to convict someone of the type of assault with which they are charged.

Third Degree Assault and Battery

The lowest level of assault someone can be charged with in South Carolina is third degree assault and battery. This was formerly classified as simple assault in South Carolina and covers a basic definition of assault. A person can be charged with this crime if he or she injures another person OR tries to or threatens to injure another person with the capability of injuring them. While this only carries up to 30 days in jail and more often is punished with a fine, it can still go on someone’s record and hurt their ability to get a job in York County or anywhere else.  This is a misdemeanor in South Carolina and is typically prosecuted in magistrate court in Rock Hill and Fort Mill. It is also a lesser included offense of any higher level of assault.

Second Degree Assault and Battery

The crime of second degree assault and battery is the same as third degree assault and battery with two differences.  First, the “injury” that must occur or have been offered or attempted must rise to the level of moderate bodily injury. State law defines moderate bodily injury as “physical injury that involves prolonged loss of consciousness, or that causes temporary or moderate disfigurement or temporary loss of the function of a bodily member or organ, or injury that requires medical treatment when the treatment requires the use of regional or general anesthesia or injury that results in a fracture or dislocation.” (S.C. Code 16-3-600(a)(2)). Generally speaking, moderate bodily injury must involve an internal injury of some sort and does not include minor bruises or scrapes.  Although second degree assault and battery carries up to 3 years in jail it is still considered a misdemeanor in South Carolina.

First Degree Assault and Battery

While all versions of assault charges should be taken seriously, this type of assault is particularly serious as it is considered a felony and someone charged with this faces stricter penalties from prosecutors. In order to commit assault and battery in the first degree, the injury involved must be great bodily injury. South Carolina defines this as injury that could cause a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or the loss of function in in a bodily organ.

This charge carries up to 10 years in prison. It is a lesser included offense of higher assault charges. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one has been accused of assault and battery 1st degree in York County.

Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN)

Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature or ABHAN, is considered a violent and serious crime in South Carolina. It carries up to 20 years in jail. As such, a person must serve 85% of their sentence if convicted. However, ABHAN has several elements that the prosecution must prove in order for someone to be found guilty of this. The best way to explain this is that it is a regular assault but worse. However, the legal explanation is that the prosecution must prove that an aggravating factor exists to make this a high and aggravated assault.

So what does that mean? Aggravating factors of ABHAN include:

  • injuring someone and touching someone’s private parts with lewd and lascivious intent,
  • injuring someone during the commission of a burglary or kidnapping,
  • and injuring someone with the means to kill someone or produce great bodily injury.

ABHAN is a lesser included offense of attempted murder. If you or someone you care about has been charged with ABHAN in York, Lancaster, or Chester counties and is facing 20 years in prison, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer.

Charged with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Degree Assault and Battery in South Carolina?

Contact our criminal defense attorneys at Nosal & Jeter, LLP if you have been charged with Assault in South Carolina. You may have legal defenses that you don’t even know about.  Contact Us today to find out how we can help.