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Basics of assault, battery, aggravated assault

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Blog, Criminal Defense

Assault and battery are related criminal charges that are often brought together arising out of the same incident. They are not the same crime though. Assault and battery in Mississippi are distinct criminal acts, each with their own factors. Generally speaking, assault is causing apprehension of harm and battery is harmful or offensive touching.

Definition of assault

Simple assault is a misdemeanor in Mississippi. The factors that must be proven to establish simple assault are that the person knowingly or recklessly attempts to cause or causes injury to the body of another, negligently causes bodily injury with a weapon or instrument likely to cause injury or death or threatens a person and makes them fear serious imminent bodily harm.

Defenses to assault charges

The most common criminal defense raised in response to assault charges is self-defense. If the person charged with assault believed they had to act to protect themselves, that may alleviate them of culpability. It may also be sufficient to be acting in the defense of other or, in some cases, in defense of property.

Definition of battery

The definition of assault in Mississippi includes actions that would be battery in other states. Thus, Mississippi does not have a separate crime for simple battery. Rather, Mississippi law sets forth the factors for the crime of sexual battery. Sexual battery includes nonconsensual sexual penetration. Consent may not be voluntary under the law due to the victim’s incapacitation, physical or mental, or due to the victim’s age.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is a felony in Mississippi. It applies when a person attempts to cause serious bodily injury or causes injury purposely, recklessly, knowingly or with extreme indifference to the value of life. Attempting to cause injury with a deadly weapon and injuring a child who is getting on or off a school bus also qualify as aggravated assault under Mississippi law.

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