South Carolina Assault and Battery Law: The Second Degree
What is Assault and Battery in the Second Degree?
In South Carolina, assault and battery in the second degree is a misdemeanor offense. Assault and battery in the second degree involves one person injuring or threatening another person without a legal reason. Sometimes assault and battery is referred to as A&B or AB. In this blog, we’ll occasionally refer to the charges as AB 2nd.
The levels of assault and battery are primarily determined by how severely the defendant hurt the victim. Assault and Battery in the second degree means the defendant is accused of causing the victim moderate bodily injury. Moderate bodily injury could be any of the following conditions:
- Loss of consciousness for a long time
- Short-term and moderate disfigurement
- Short-term loss of physical function
- Injuries with medical treatment that require being put-under
- Fractures and dislocations
Minor issues such as bruises, scratches, or cuts that do not require medical care do not qualify as moderate bodily injury.
What conduct leads to Assault and Battery in the Second Degree?
There are four categories of assault and battery in the second degree.
In this type of AB 2nd, the defendant injures another person and this victim experiences moderate bodily injury. For example, imagine that Bill hits Tom in the arm with a novelty baseball bat. If Tom’s arm gets broken, the State can press charges against Tom for AB 2nd.
Harm and Non-consensual Private Touch
In the second scenario, the defendant injures another person and intentionally touches their private parts without permission. If Bill punches Tom in the groin and then breaks Tom’s arm, he has just committed second degree assault and battery.
Threats of Reasonable Harm
In the third scenario, the defendant tries to injure another person in a way that would lead to moderate bodily injury. Whether or not they actually harm the person is irrelevant. For example, Bill might swing a baseball bat at Tom and also threaten to bash Tom’s head. If Bill had actually swung and hit his target, Tom may have broken something, lose consciousness, or experience loss of bodily function for a little bit.
Threats of Reasonable Harm and Non-consensual Private Touch
In the final type of Assault and Battery in the second degree, the defendant both reasonably threatens moderate bodily injury and touches the victim’s private parts without permission. Imagine Tom’s girlfriend Diane walks in on Bill beating up Tom. If Bill pins her against the wall and touches her private parts, and then threatens to break her arm if she screams, then he has just committed assault and battery in the second degree.
Definition of Assault and Battery in the Second Degree
Assault and Battery is governed by SC Code 16-3-600. Subsection D defines the elements and penalties of the crime:
(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery in the second degree if the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so, and:
(a) moderate bodily injury to another person results or moderate bodily injury to another person could have resulted; or
(b) the act involves the non-consensual touching of the private parts of a person, either under or above clothing.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both.
(3) Assault and battery in the second degree is a lesser-included offense of assault and battery in the Second degree, as defined in subsection (C)(1), assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in subsection (B)(1), and attempted murder, as defined in Section 16-3-29.
While this kind of legal language may seem overwhelming, understanding assault and battery charges can be simple. A lawyer with experience in assault and battery criminal defense can also clear up any confusion someone might have with these definitions.
What does it mean to be charged with Assault and Battery in the Second Degree in South Carolina?
If somebody is charged with assault and battery in the second degree in South Carolina, it means that they are accused of one of the four scenarios listed above. If convicted of this misdemeanor charge, the defendant could face a fine of up to $2500 and up to 3 years in prison.
Additional penalties can be added if certain conditions are met. One of these conditions is carrying or using a weapon in the assault. Assault and battery with a weapon in the second degree requires an additional sentence of 3-12 months in jail and/or up to $200 in fines.
Assault and battery in the second degree is a “lesser included offense” of attempted murder, assault and battery of a highly aggravated nature, and assault and battery in the first degree, meaning that it is included within those charges.
Who should I call if I’ve been charged with Assault and Battery in the Second Degree?
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery in the second degree, you’ll need a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you make the right decisions on your case. Choose someone with assault and battery in the second degree defense experience.
If you’re looking for an assault and battery in the Second degree lawyer in Lexington or South Carolina, choose someone who knows the court system in South Carolina. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you face these charges.
Judah VanSyckel is a Lexington lawyer with experience defending assault and battery in the second degree charges. Contact our offices to set up a free consultation.