Information about Assault and Battery Crimes in Louisiana
You might think “assault” is someone touching and hurting you, but legally in Louisiana, assault is attempting or threatening to hurt someone. “Battery” is when someone touches or hurts you. Battery is generally considered to be a more serious crime than assault and carries harsher penalties, but not always. For example, the potential punishments for simple battery, such as pushing someone, and aggravated assault, which is threatening someone with a weapon, is actually the same – up to $1,000 in fines or up to 6 months in prison or both. In Louisiana, assault and battery covers a wide range of criminal charges from relatively minor charges like simple assault to very serious offenses such as aggravated second degree battery. These are the definitions and potential penalties for assault and battery offenses in Louisiana.
Louisiana Assault Charges
Simple assault is attempting or threatening to harm someone without the presence of a weapon. This is a misdemeanor charge with a penalty of up to $200 or up to 3 months in jail or both. The penalties are stiffer for special classes of people, such as child welfare workers and school teachers while performing their jobs.
Aggravated Assault is threatening to harm someone with the use of a dangerous weapon. If a person pulls a gun out of their purse and says they are going to shoot you, the charge is aggravated assault. Weapons can be any object that can be used to inflict harm and do not have to be guns or knives, etc. The penalty for aggravated assault is up to $1,000 fine or prison for up to six months, or both.
If someone commits aggravated assault while in the process of robbing a store, there is a minimum sentence of 4 months. Committing aggravated assault against a peace officer or utility worker while they are on the job also carries stiffer penalties including required minimum jail sentences.
Now if the person pulls a gun, says they are going to shoot you, and then fires off a shot – the charge has become aggravated assault with a firearm. Once the gun discharges, the offense is much more serious. This is a felony charge with a potential penalty of a fine up to $10,000 and prison for up to 10 years or both.
Threatening to use a gun while driving by in a motor vehicle is considered “drive-by shooting assault” and is a serious felony charge with a penalty of 1 – 5 years in prison, without the possibility of suspension of sentence. This means that there is a required minimum of one year in jail, but could be up to 5 years.
Louisiana Battery Charges
In Louisiana, battery is defined as such: ” Battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon the person of another; or the intentional administration of a poison or other noxious liquid or substance to another. ” So essentially, intentionally causing physical harm to another or touching them with force. The penalties for battery vary depending on the extent of the injuries, whether a weapon is used, and who the victim is. Causing harm to a police officer, school teacher, correctional facility employee, athletic official, bus driver, veteran, utility employee, child welfare worker and the infirm all carry special penalties. Battery against spouses or domestic partners and children are also treated separately and you can read more about these charges on our Louisiana Domestic Abuse Battery page. But in general, these are the penalties for Louisiana battery charges:
Simple Battery is causing minor injury or committing offensive contact without the use of a weapon. This is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 and prison for up to 6 months or both. Examples of simple battery can include hitting, shoving, slapping, pulling hair, grabbing, etc.
Second Degree Battery is causing serious bodily injury without the use of a weapon. Louisiana law considers “serious bodily injury” to be “injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.” The penalty is up to $2,000 or prison for up to 8 years or both.
Aggravated battery is battery committed with a dangerous weapon. The penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 and prison up to 10 years or both. If a weapon is used to inflict serious bodily injury, the charge is Second Degree Aggravated Battery and carries the following penalty: A fine of $10,000 or less or prison for up to 15 years, or both.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Assault and battery charges are considered to be “violent crimes” in Louisiana and are treated more seriously than non-violent charges. For example, many misdemeanor charges can be expunged after a certain period, with the exception of violent crimes. If you are facing assault and battery charges, there is the possibility that the charge will follow you for the rest of your life. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you prepare the best defense possible. Situations involving assault and battery charges are often not clear cut. It may not be easy to tell what exactly happened or who the perpetrator is and who the victim is in a fight. Sometimes the police will charge everyone involved with assault and battery and sort it out later. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial when the facts are murky. It is sometimes possible to talk to witnesses or locate security footage that can be helpful to your case. Sometimes a charge can be reduced to a less serious offense. If you have a question about a Louisiana assault and battery charge, you can call my law office at 337 704-2615 for a free consultation.