At its most basic, battery describes an instance of unwelcome physical contact. In Indiana, it’s a Class B misdemeanor to touch another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner, and this carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Depending on the context, the charge can increase in severity.
Aggravated battery is the knowing or intentional infliction of injury that either creates a substantial risk of death or causes:
- serious permanent disfigurement;
- protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ; or
- the loss of a fetus.
Basically, aggravated battery occurs when you cause serious harm to someone. It starts as a Level 3 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you’re at least 18 and you cause the death of someone under the age of 14, aggravated battery can be charged as a Level 1 felony. This carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The attorneys of the Marc Lopez Law Firm handle criminal defense on daily basis. They’ve dealt with a number of examples of aggravated battery, including:
- where a man shoots another man in the stomach for disrespecting his lady;
- where a man who is beaten on the floor is subsequently kicked in the face; and
- where a pedestrian is struck and then dragged under a vehicle.
These are all scenarios that involve a substantial risk of death, and a common question related to aggravated battery charges is: Why isn’t the State charging attempted murder? The short answer is: Attempted murder is more difficult to prove.
With attempted murder, the State has to prove the defendant was trying to kill the victim. It’s difficult to get inside another person’s head and prove intent. It’s much easier to show that the defendant knowingly caused someone harm. Ultimately, it’s easier for the State to prove aggravated battery.
When it comes to defending against a charge of aggravated battery, your options are pretty much the same as they’d be with any crime of violence. Your first thought should always be self-defense—that is, you were provoked and responded appropriately under the circumstances.
You might also try to counter an aggravated battery charge by arguing that the results were unintended. If you can show that any harm caused was accidental, you’ve negated one of the crime’s essential elements.
Aggravated battery is a serious charge, and you need a serious attorney to deal with it. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!