Dedicated Assault & Battery Defense Attorney Protecting Your Rights
Professional criminal defense when you’re facing assault charges in Columbia and Charleston
The state of South Carolina takes assault crimes very seriously. An assault conviction can carry penalties that will follow you long after you’ve paid your debt to society, in the form of a criminal record that will strip you of many of your constitutional rights. If you’re facing assault charges, it’s important you have a professional on your side who can strongly advocate for you, working to avoid both conviction and a criminal record.
An assault can happen under a variety of different circumstances, and often authorities don’t have the full story. Was it their intent, or was it an accident? An experienced criminal defense attorney can design an effective strategy for your defense, minimizing your charges or having them dismissed altogether.
The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. has represented individuals facing a variety of criminal charges here in Columbia and Charleston for more than two decades. If you’ve been arrested and charged with assault, we can help you, too. Contact us today.
Are assault and battery the same offense?
In the past, South Carolina used to distinguish between assault and battery. Assault was the “threat” of unwanted touching, while battery as the “act” of unwanted touching. Today, however, both of these acts are considered assault under state law. Under S.C. Code § 16-3-600, assault and battery is defined as “causing injury to another person, or making an offer or attempt to injure another person with the present ability to do so.”
“Remember, an arrest is not a conviction.” - Attorney Hough
What are the different degrees of assault and battery?
The state categorizes assault and battery into four categories – assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN), first degree, second degree, and third degree. ABHAN is the most serious of assault and battery charges, and a conviction holds the most severe penalties.
The biggest distinction between these degrees is the severity of injuries caused, or could potentially have been caused. Additionally, if the accused had sexual intent during the alleged assault, that may also play a role in the charges. Here’s a more in-depth look at assault and battery charges.
Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature
To be charged with ABHAN, the accused must have injured the victim, resulting in great bodily injury (a risk of death or causing serious disfigurement or permanent injury) or using a means likely to cause death or great bodily injury.
First-degree assault and battery
An individual can be charged with assault and battery in the first degree if he or she unlawfully injures the victim, and either one or both of the following occur:
- The accused commits the assault during a theft, kidnapping, robbery, or burglary
- The accused touches the victim’s private parts without consent, and with lewd intent
The accused person can also be charged with first-degree assault and battery if he or she threatens or attempts to injure a victim, with the present ability to injure, and one or both of the following occur:
- The accused person’s actions are likely to cause death or great bodily injury to the victim
- The accused person’s actions occur during a theft, kidnapping, robbery, or burglary
Second-degree assault and battery
Assault and battery in the second degree occurs when the accused injures another person or offers/attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so. Additionally, either one of the both of the following must be present:
- The victim is, or could have been, moderately injured
- The accused touches the victim’s private parts without consent
Third-degree assault and battery
Also known as “simple assault,” an individual can be charged with third-degree assault if he or she injures another person or offers/attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.
If the alleged assaulter and victim are household members, the charges may instead fall under domestic violence laws.
As your assault defense attorney, Attorney Hough puts his 25+ years of experience to work on your behalf, negotiating to either have your charges dismissed altogether, or reduced to a lesser degree. Our team ensures you understand the consequences of a conviction and strategize for the best possible outcome for your case.
What are the penalties for assault and battery in Columbia and Charleston?
The penalties and consequences for an assault conviction vary according to the charge. Of course, the more serious the charge, the longer the prison time. An assault and battery conviction can result in the following.
- Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature: Felony, up to 20 years in jail
- Assault and battery in the first degree: Felony, up to 10 years in jail
- Assault and battery in the second degree: Misdemeanor, up to five years in jail
- Assault and battery in the third degree: Misdemeanor, up to 30 days in jail
Additionally, any assault on a police officer is a felony.
Attorney Hough’s decades of experience have taught him that, in many assault cases, facts are taken out of context and the accused’s side is often overlooked. We listen to your side of the situation and aggressively protect your rights. Our job is to build you the strongest defense possible, working to ensure you avoid jail time and a criminal record.
Can assault and battery charges in SC be dismissed?
Yes, sometimes. Often, an experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with prosecutors to have your charges dropped. In other cases, assault and battery charges may be dismissed in exchange for a plea to lesser charges. Or, your attorney will work with you to build a strategic defense that simply illustrates the prosecution doesn’t have the evidence for a case against you.
Remember – an arrest is not a conviction.
Can you help me get assault and battery charges expunged?
In the Columbia and Charleston area – and across the state – you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged if your charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty. Some crimes are never eligible for expungement. However, we can also help you apply to have your record pardoned. Attorney Hough can explain the details of both expungement and pardons at your convenience.
Call an experienced assault defense lawyer for help today
We effectively represent clients through every step of the criminal justice process when they’re facing assault charges. At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we work with you from the moment you contact us until your case is resolved. Our one and only goal is to protect your constitutional rights, avoiding prison time and a criminal record. Attorney Hough’s decades of experience in the local criminal justice system gives his clients the inside knowledge they need for success. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Columbia or Charleston, please call 803-771-4119 or fill out our contact form.