The terms used in the criminal justice system, not only in Louisiana but across the country, are not easily discernible for laypeople. The lack of clarity is especially true when it comes to the charge of aggravated battery. So, what’s an aggravated battery?
Aggravated battery is a felony criminal charge for the intentional unauthorized use of force against another person’s body with a dangerous weapon.
Many people charged with aggravated battery may have a viable defense. To be found guilty of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Elements of an aggravated battery
In Louisiana, aggravated battery is defined as a battery committed in conjunction with special circumstances, such as a dangerous weapon. So to understand an aggravated battery, it’s essential to understand the criminal charge of a battery. LA Code RS 14:34
A battery was committed
The first element that must be proven is that the accused a battery. A battery is the unauthorized use of force against another person’s body that results in offensive touching or actual physical injury.
A battery charge requires actual contact that was intended but not necessarily violent, but it does have to be unwanted or offensive. LA Code RS 14:33
A dangerous weapon
The dangerous weapon could be most anything that can potentially cause serious harm or death if used in a particular way. Some things are inherently dangerous such as knives and guns and even baseball bats.
But other objects may be considered dangerous when used in a particular way that isn’t as obvious. For example, driving into a person with a car or kicking someone in the head with a steel-toed boot.
If the object is not obviously a dangerous weapon, then the government will have to provide case-specific facts to show the item is a dangerous weapon when used in this case and by the accused.
Aggravated Battery Sentences
Aggravated battery is a felony in Louisiana. A person found guilty of aggravated battery shall be fined not over five thousand dollars, and/or imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both.
By statute, one year of the sentence has to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence if the victim was attacked because they were an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a disabled veteran.
Crime of Violence
By statute, aggravated assaults are classified as crimes of violence. Persons convicted for crimes of violence have to serve 85% of their sentence and are not eligible for a deferred sentence under Article 893. Click here to read more about crimes of violence.
Probation for aggravated assault
Louisiana does allow probation for a person convicted of aggravated assault. Sentencing is left to the judge, and they have the discretion, send a person to prison, suspend the sentence, or place the person on probation.
If a judge sentences a person to probation, he typically orders the defendant to comply with special conditions, such as: paying fees, perform community service work, and attend classes.
Failure to comply with the conditions of probation will likely result in revocation of probation. If a person has their probation revoked, they will likely serve the remainder of their time in prison.
Defense to Aggravated Battery charges
The most common argument is that they have the wrong person. You didn’t do the crime and was somewhere else at the time the offense was committed, and you have an alibi witness.
Another common defense is that you didn’t intend to touch the victim or to cause them harm. For example, if a man were swinging a bat to exhibit his batting prowess and accidentally struck his wife who was standing nearby, the defense would be that he didn’t intend to hit his wife in the head.
Consent is a defense, and if it can be shown that the victim and accused were engaged in mutual combat, it may be considered that each is equally responsible for any injuries.
For example, if two women get into a shouting match in a nail salon and agree to “take it outside” to fight, then neither woman can claim that their injuries were a result of criminal battery. They both decided to participate in the brawl.
Self-Defense can be used as a defense. The accused must show he was using reasonable force to protect himself from an attack started by the victim, and the victim’s injuries were the result of their attempt to defend themselves.
For example, if two men are in a bar and one guy starts harassing the other and then hits the man and holds him on the ground and tries to take his watch.
The man reacts by striking the thief over the head with a beer bottle, causing a gash in his head, then the man that was first attacked used reasonable self-defense and would likely not be found guilty of aggravated battery.
If you’ve been charged with the crime of Aggravated battery, contact our office to speak with an experienced criminal attorney. We have offices in Hammond and Livingston, Louisiana. Call our offices at (225) 686-8006 or visit our website to email us.