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Battery (crime) facts for kids

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A balancing scale, commonly associated with law and justice.

Battery is the intentional and offensive or harmful contact with another person. The exact definition varies by jurisdiction. In criminal law the elements of battery are physical contact that causes harm or offensive contact without that person's consent. Battery is often confused with assault which is threatening battery. Battery is when the threat (assault) is carried out and the person is harmed in some way. Criminal battery and civil battery may be the same or differ slightly depending on jurisdiction. In many cases the act of battery can result in both criminal and civil liability.

Aggravated battery vs simple battery

When a court refers to 'battery', what is usually meant is simple battery. Simple battery is more often a misdemeanor. The elements of simple battery include:

  • The use of force that is unauthorized or unlawful.
  • Battery to the person of another.
  • There is a physical injury or touching in an offensive manner.

Aggravated battery is more serious than simple battery. In most jurisdictions aggravated battery is a felony. What defines aggravated battery can vary, but most often in includes:

  • The use of a deadly weapon.
  • Cases where the result is serious bodily injury.
  • The battery involves a hate crime
  • Battery is committed against a vulnerable person: a child, an elderly person, or a pregnant woman.
  • Battery committed against police officer is it usually considered aggravated battery.
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