It is against the law to touch another person in a rude or offensive manner. Unwanted and offensive contact is classified as battery, and can incur criminal penalties for the accused.
Battery is an intentional unpermitted act which causes harm or, it is offensive contact from one person towards another person’s body. People are supposed to have the right to have their body left alone by others, when another person violates this inherent right by touching them or striking them in an unpleasant manner, they can be charged with battery.
Battery is one of those crimes that are both a tort and a crime at the same time; the main element being, harmful or offensive physical contact. The main difference between the two is how they are penalized. In a civil liability case, the defendant can be ordered to pay the plaintiff damages, whereas the criminal punishment for criminal battery typically consists of fines, imprisonment or both.
In order for the prosecution to convict the defendant it must be proven that an act was committed by the defendant. They also have to prove that the intention of the act was to cause harmful or offensive contact against the victim. Therefore, if the defendant lacked intent and harmed the victim entirely by accident or mistake, the prosecution may not have a case for battery charges.
Rude and offensive behavior can lead to battery charges, even if the defendant merely threw a drink in the victim’s face, or if they knocked a hat off their head. These days, any type of offensive behavior can result in criminal penalties. It is not necessary for the victim to have a bruise, or scratch after the altercation. As long as the rude, offensive or unwanted contact took place, it is enough for battery charges to be charged against the individual.
The element of “intent" is the key factor for battery charges. In criminal law, the element of intent is satisfied when the act was done with the intent to harm or injure, or if it was done with criminal negligence, meaning the person failed to use care to avoid criminal consequences.
There are different degrees of this offense. The degree of harm or injury that was exacted upon the victim will determine the penalties that the defendant faces; for example, slapping someone in the face will have a much lighter sentence than beating a person within an inch of their life. These charges vary and they can include: sexual assault, sexual battery, domestic assault and battery, aggravated assault & battery against a child, gang-related assault and battery, assault of a police officer, and school fighting.
It’s important to look at the big picture when you are facing criminal charges. Even if you acted in self defense, or if the other person was acting aggressively towards you and egging you on, you could still wind up with a criminal conviction and be sent to jail. Unfortunately, fights happen every day. It is not fair to listen to just one side of the story; however, it will be up to your criminal defense attorney to paint the full picture to the prosecutor or inside the courtroom. You deserve to be heard, and you deserve to explain what happened from your point of view. If you want to protect your freedom and your legal rights, contact a highly qualified criminal defense lawyer right away.