South Carolina Felony Assault: Crime of Aggression
What is Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature?
In South Carolina, Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature is a violent crime that is not self-defense. We will sometimes refer to it as aggravated assault or ABHAN. ABHAN is when someone attacks a person without legal justification, and he or she uses a means of attack that does or could cause great bodily injury or death.
Two separate factors make this charge:
First, the victim must get a great bodily injury from the attack. Any injury that disfigures the victim or could cause death qualifies.
Second, the defendant attacked the victim in a way that produces great bodily injury or death. If the defendant threatens with a gun or knife, or something less obvious like a rock, a car, or even a dog, and it could or does seriously harm the victim, then he or she has committed an aggravated assault.
Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature is a “lesser included offense” of attempted murder, meaning that it is included within the charge of attempted murder. However, aggravated assaults are not necessarily attempts to murder. It is important to have a lawyer represent you in these situations.
What does it mean to be charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature in South Carolina?
If somebody is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in South Carolina, it means that they are accused of injuring another person without justification, and the injury either caused great bodily harm or was accomplished by means that could cause death or great bodily harm. Defendants in these cases are at risk of getting a felony on their record. If convicted of this felony charge, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.
Definition and Example of Assault and Battery of a Highly Aggravated Nature
An example of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature could take place during an argument. Let’s say that Dale gets into a verbal argument with his friend, Tucker, at a bar. During this argument, Dale breaks a bottle and uses the jagged end to stab Tucker in the neck. Tucker survives, but because Dale used a “means likely to produce death or great bodily injury” to attack Tucker, he can be charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-600 (2015) states:
(A) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Great bodily injury” means bodily injury which causes a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
(2) “Moderate bodily injury” means 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. Moderate bodily injury does not include one-time treatment and subsequent observation of scratches, cuts, abrasions, bruises, burns, splinters, or any other minor injuries that do not ordinarily require extensive medical care.
(3) “Private parts” means the genital area or buttocks of a male or female or the breasts of a female.
(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature if the person unlawfully injures another person, and:
(a) great bodily injury to another person results; or
(b) the act is accomplished by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than twenty years.
(3) Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is a lesser-included offense of 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.
Who should I call if I’ve been charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature?
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, 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 experience defending assault and battery charges.
If you’re looking for an assault and battery 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 charges. Contact our offices to set up a free consultation.