Understanding battery charges

When someone is charged with battery in South Carolina, he or she might wonder what exactly this means. At first glance, this term might seem to have nothing to do with the law. According to FindLaw, this term refers to times when someone touches another person without permission.

Battery charges usually fall into two categories. A charge of civil battery means that someone touched another person or his or her belongings without consent and caused some form of harm to this person. If people are charged with criminal battery, this means they intended to hurt the person they touched. A battery charge does not cover all situations when a person touches someone else without permission. Taking someone's hand without asking first, for example, is usually not considered battery. Instead, this charge covers situations when a person intentionally strikes someone and cause an injury. People might be charged with aggravated battery if they intend to harm a person and use a weapon or if they hurt someone who is disabled or elderly. 

At first glance, battery may sound similar to assault. FindLaw says that assault means a person tried to harm someone but did not actually touch him or her. This includes situations when a person threatens someone else or behaves in a threatening manner. Someone who is charged with assault usually intends to perform the threatening actions, although in some situations a person might receive an assault charge if he or she is behaving in way that puts other people in danger.

An assault charge usually means that someone spoke or acted in a way that made someone fear for his or her safety. This means that threatening language can be considered an assault. An unsuccessful attempt to injure another person is also assault. Assault can turn into battery if someone makes physical contact with another person while threatening him or her.

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