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Assault & Battery: Two Very Different Offenses


Did you know assault and battery are actually two separate criminal charges? People frequently use the term “assault and battery” to lump these two offenses together to refer to the same crime, though what they are really referencing is the crime of battery. Under Wisconsin law, battery is defined as the intentional use of force against another person with the intent of causing physical harm to them. Assault or attempted battery occurs when a person causes someone else to fear imminent physical harm, though no actual contact needs to occur in order to be charged.

Battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending on the severity of a victim’s injuries, whether or not a weapon was used, and whether or not the victim was a member of a protected class. Penalties can increase substantially depending on the identity of the victim.

The following groups of people are all protected classes:

  • Elderly people age 62 and up
  • People with disabilities
  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency room workers
  • School officials
  • Witnesses
  • Family members

What is Considered “Bodily Harm?”

One of the factors in determining sentencing for battery is evaluating the level of bodily harm that was caused. While instances of battery resulting minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises are generally charged as misdemeanors, causing more serious damage can escalate these charges to a felony. There are two different levels of bodily harm: substantial and great.

Causing substantial bodily harm such as lacerations, broken bones, tooth loss, burns, ruptured blood vessels, or concussions is a Class I felony offense punishable by up to three years and six months in prison, along with fines up to $10,000. Injuries that are life-threatening or result in permanent disfiguration are considered great bodily harm. Otherwise known as aggravated battery, causing great bodily harm is a Class E felony offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.

Facing Charges? Call (414) 882-8382 Today

If you have been charged with battery or any type of violent crime, it is urgent you retain the services of a high-caliber legal team as soon as possible to minimize your chances of serving serious consequences. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer has been defending the accused for more than two decades and can protect you against the prosecution’s claims.

To find out more about what our award-winning attorneys can do for you, call (414) 882-8382 or schedule a no-cost consultation today.

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