What is Assault and Battery in the Third Degree?
In South Carolina, assault and battery in the third degree is a misdemeanor offense. It is the lesser offense of the assault and battery charges as well as aggravated assaults and attempted murder. Sometimes it is referred to as A&B 3rd.
This charge requires one person injuring or attempting to injure another person without legal justification. “Attempt to injure” means that even if the defendant didn’t actually hurt the victim, they can be charged. If this victim experienced even a reasonable fear of bodily harm, the defendant’s conduct can make the defendant guilty of a third degree assault charge.
This fear must be “reasonable” though, which means someone can’t claim to have been assaulted for impossible threats. For example, if Susan is holding a softball bat and swings it at Cheryl but misses, Susan is still liable for AB 3rd. But it’s not reasonable to charge a toddler with assault and battery when they throw their spoon at you because you’re not afraid of any real bodily harm.
It’s important to note that assault and battery charges in the third degree are legally unjustified acts or attempts of violence. Physical retaliation to verbal taunts is not legally justified. However, responses to taunts that genuinely threaten violence and spark reasonable fear can be justified.
What does it mean to be charged with Assault and Battery in the Third Degree in South Carolina?
If somebody is charged with assault and battery in the third degree in South Carolina, it means that they are accused of injuring or attempting to injure someone without legal justification. If convicted of this misdemeanor charge, the defendant could face a fine of up to $500, as well as up to 30 days in prison. This is determined by the court.
The S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-600 section E defines Third Degree of Assault and Battery:
- (1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery in the third degree if the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.
- (2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
- (3) Assault and battery in the third degree is a lesser-included offense of assault and battery in the third degree, as defined in subsection (D)(1), assault and battery in the third 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 that might be difficult to understand, a lawyer can clear up any confusion and answer any questions. Lawyers will know other sections of SC code that may clarify your specific case and help you understand your charges.
What is an example of Third Degree Assault and Battery?
An example of assault and battery in the third degree would be if Jim and Roy get into an argument over a girl. During this argument, Roy punches Jim in the face. Jim gets a black eye, and Roy can be charged with assault and battery in the third degree.
If the fight between Jim and Roy escalates, Roy can be charged with a higher degree of assault.
Who should I call if I’ve been charged with Assault and Battery in the Third Degree?
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery in the third 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 third degree defense experience.
If you’re looking for an assault and battery in the third 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 third degree charges. Contact our offices to set up a free consultation.