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When Can You Be Charged with Assault and Battery?

“Assault and battery” is a term commonly used to describe a criminal physical attack. However, assault and battery are treated as two distinct crimes in Arkansas.

An assault is an intentional act that puts the victim in fear of imminent physical harm. This must be more than a verbal threat; there must be a physical action that leads the victim to believe he or she is about to be injured. A battery is when the actor physically hits or offensively touches the victim. An assault usually precedes a battery, but the two crimes can occur independently of each other.

Arkansas Criminal Law

In Arkansas, there are three different degrees of assault:

  • First degree assault — reckless conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury — is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
  • Second degree assault — reckless conduct that causes a physical injury — is a Class B misdemeanor, drawing up 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Third degree assault — creating apprehension of imminent physical injury — is a Class C misdemeanor carrying up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

There are also three degrees of battery.

First degree battery is defined as any one of these actions:

  • causing serious physical injury to any person with a deadly weapon
  • seriously and permanently disfiguring another person or destroying, amputating or permanently disabling a member or organ of another person’s body
  • causing serious physical injury to another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life

First degree battery can occur in a number of situations, such as during the commission of a felony by the actor alone or with assistance from another person. First degree battery is a Class B felony, punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Second degree battery includes a battery committed against law enforcement personnel, firefighters, first responders or medical professionals in the course of their performance of duties. It also includes batteries against persons over 60 and under 12 years of age as well as batteries committed with the use of a deadly weapon other than a firearm. Second degree battery is a Class D felony carrying a maximum of six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Third degree battery occurs when a person recklessly causes injury to a victim or negligently causes injury with a deadly weapon. Third degree battery is a Class A misdemeanor, drawing up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

If you are charged with an assault or battery or both in Arkansas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can analyze the charges and determine the appropriate defenses that may be available to you.

Contact our Little Rock criminal defense team today

James Law Firm represents clients in the Little Rock area and throughout Arkansas in a full range of criminal cases. To learn about your rights and legal options, please call to schedule a free consultation (501) 375-0900 or contact us online.

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