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Battery vs. Assault

If you are accused of harming or threatening someone, call LHA at (513) 338-1890 right away.

Charges related to hurting others are punished harshly in Ohio, and may include what is historically considered assault, battery, or both. You should discuss which charged apply to your case and why with your attorney, and how these assault and battery are handled under Ohio law.

An experienced Ohio assault lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates is ready to discuss the charges, what they mean for you, and how to defend yourself. Contact us today at (513) 338-1890 or submit your information online for a free initial consultation.

Defining Battery and Assault Historically

Under U.S. common law, battery and assault are two different crimes.

Assault is the crime of intentionally placing another person in reasonable fear of imminent harm or offensive touching. A person threatening to attack another while that person had the apparent ability to do so would be an assault. This requires the victim to experience fear and to reasonably believe the person could carry out their threats. Assault does not require any actual contact to occur.

Battery is the actual harmful or offensive physical contact by one person against another without the victim’s consent. Though battery requires actual contact between the aggressor and victim, it does not require a resulting injury or mark.

Some states still use this distinction, and others do not. If you are accused of assault and battery in Ohio, talk with an experienced attorney about Ohio law.

Battery vs. Assault in Ohio

Ohio’s homicide and assault law, Chapter 2903 of Title 29 of the Revised Code of Ohio, does not discuss battery. Instead, Ohio defines assault as an offense that encompasses conduct that would historically be considered assault or battery.

Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.13, assault is defined as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn child. Ohio law also defines assault as recklessly causing serious physical harm to another or their unborn child.

If you intentionally or recklessly cause harmful or offensive physical contact with another person, then this would have been battery. Under Ohio’s current laws, the charge you face, though, is called assault.

If you are accused of assault under ORC 2903.13, a prosecutor may charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor or a fifth-, fourth-, or third-degree felony.

Negligent Assault

Under ORC Section 2903.14, you can also be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor if you negligently, by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance, cause physical harm to another person or their unborn fetus. This statute specifically discusses causing physical harm, not an attempt.

Aggravated Assault

Under ORC Section 2903.12, aggravated assault involves causing serious physical harm, or causing or attempting to cause physical harm by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance, while under the influence of a sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage caused by a serious provocation by the victim, which is reasonably sufficient to incite a person to use deadly force.

Like ordinary assault, this encompasses what would have been considered battery under common law. Traditionally, a battery crime did not take into consideration whether the person acted due to being provoked, though this may have been a defense.

Aggravated assault is a fourth-degree felony. However, if the victim is a police officer or law enforcement agent, it is a third-degree felony.

Felonious Assault

Under ORC Section 2903.11(A), it is illegal to knowingly:

  • Cause serious harm to another person or their unborn; or
  • Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or their unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance.

If you are aware you have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDs), it is unlawful under ORC Section 2903.11(B) to:

  • Engage in sexual conduct with another without disclosing this fact;
  • Engage in sexual conduct with a person you know or have reasonable cause to know lacks the mental capacity to appreciate the significance of the disclosure; or
  • Engage in sexual conduct with a person under 18 years old who is not your spouse.

Felonious assault is a second-degree felony, or a first-degree felony if against a police officer or law enforcement agent.

“Felonious assault” can be confusing. These are not the only circumstances in which you can be charged with felony assault in Ohio. Many crimes that would be traditionally assault or battery are felonies.

Penalties for Assault

If you are convicted of conduct that would have been considered battery (an intentional harmful or offensive touching), then you face incarceration, probation, community service, fines, restitution, and other penalties. Your sentence depends on the degree of the crime, your criminal history, and whether there were any aggravating or mitigating factors in your case, including:

  • First-Degree Felony: Between three and 10 years in prison and a fine up to $20,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony: Between two and eight years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony: Between one and five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony: Between six and 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Fifth-Degree Felony: Between six and 12 months in prison and a fine up to $2,5000.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and up to a $750 fine.
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.
  • Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail and up to a $150 fine.

You face a mandatory minimum prison term for simple, aggravated, or felonious assault of a peace officer or law enforcement investigator if the victim suffered serious physical harm, or for simple, aggravated, or felonious assault of a pregnant woman.

Where You Will See “Battery” in Ohio Statutes

Ohio prohibits sexual battery under ORC Section 2907.03. This offense encompasses performing sexual conduct on another individual without their consent.

How a Lawyer Can Help When You’re Facing Assault and Battery

Decades ago, threatening someone vs. causing someone physical harm may have led to different charges. However, the battery vs. assault distinction is all but gone in Ohio.

The level of the offense you face will depend on the type of harm you caused, whether the incident involved a deadly weapon and whether you acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally.

No matter the level of assault charge you face, you should contact a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer Bradley Groene as soon as possible. An attorney will thoroughly review the facts and pursue strategies to obtain a dismissal or acquittal.

Your lawyer may obtain facts that support a quick resolution, such as lack of intent, insufficient evidence, or police misconduct. We may file a motion to dismiss or negotiate with the prosecutor. If you are a first-time offender involved in a minor altercation, we may be able to get the prosecutor to drop the case or reduce the charges

If the charges move forward, we will discuss with you the strength of the prosecutor’s case vs. your defense options. We may discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain. However, we are experienced litigators who are prepared to defend you against assault at trial.

Have Questions? Call LHA Today

If you have questions about assault and battery charges in Cincinnati, OH, do not hesitate to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates. You can reach us online or call (513) 338-1890 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Bradley Groene made an exceptionally difficult situation much easier to handle. He kept me informed of everything that was going to happen and got results for my case far better than I could have hoped for. I would highly recommend him for anyone who finds themselves in legal troubles.