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Assault & Battery


Both assault and battery are considered crimes of violence, and thus carry heavy penalties and severe long-term consequences such as jail time or large fines, a criminal records, and subsequently, the inability to gain employment. Accordingly, you should not take these charges lightly. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, these penalties may be reduced or eliminated entirely.


It is a common misconception that "assault and battery" is a single crime, but Louisiana law makes each a distinct and separate crime. Here is a simple way to distinguish the two: assault deals with attempted or threatened physical contact, whereas battery deals with actual physical contact.


Assault is an attempt to commit a battery, or the intentional placing of another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.

For example, if you pull out a baseball bat and raise it over your head as if you are about to hit a person, you have committed assault, not battery. Even though you did not necessarily attempt to hit that person, you still caused to him to feel threatened of being hit.

Here is another scenario: Imagine a person's back is turned to you and you swing the bat at him and miss. Here, he would not necessarily feel threatened, because he did not know that you were trying to hit him, but you still committed assault because you attempted to hit him.


Battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon a person.

Battery is easier to define than assault. It is essentially a completed assault. In the earlier example, if you actually succeeded in striking that person with the bat, you would be guilty of battery.


Penalties for an assault or battery conviction vary widely depending on whether serious injury was caused and whether a dangerous weapon was used.

On the low end, there is simple battery. This is when there is no dangerous weapon used and no significant injury caused, in which case the maximum time in jail is 6 months.

On the upper end, there is aggravated second degree battery. This is when both a dangerous weapon is used and serious bodily injury is intentionally inflicted. In this case, the maximum punishment is 15 years in prison.

Assault convictions typically carry a lighter punishment, but not always. For example, an assault with a firearm would carry a harsher punishment than a simple battery.


A lot of times, these cases come down to “he said, she said” testimony. This can create difficulties for the prosecution in establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt. So, one theory of defense is that there is a lack of proof that you did in fact commit assault or battery. In addition, there are several affirmative defenses listed below. An affirmative defense basically means that you were justified in committing the assault or battery. 


This is probably the most common defense to assault and battery charges. If you are under threat of harm, you have every right to defend yourself as long as the force used was reasonable compared to the threat posed. Furthermore, you have no obligation to retreat to avoid the threat even if retreat is a viable option. In fact, a judge or jury is not even permitted to even consider the possibility of retreat in determining the lawfulness of force. 

Defense of others 

Just as you have the right to defend yourself against harm, you have the right to defend others when it is reasonably apparent that the person being attacked could have used such force or violence to defend himself. 

Defense of Property

The same applies to property. You have the right to defend against forcible offenses and trespasses against your property.

Aggressor Provision

Self defense only applies when the person claiming it is not the initial aggressor, unless the initial aggressor withdraws from the conflict and the other person knows or should know that he desires to end the conflict. An example: you start a fight, and then walk away and the other person hits you from behind and another fight ensues. In this case you may have a claim of self defense. 


Assault and Battery Charges required dedicated legal representation. Because they are considered crimes of violence, they are usually prosecuted aggressively. If you are charged with either, you will need the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Once retained, we will immediately get to work carefully reviewing the evidence against you to pinpoint prosecutorial weaknesses and challenge unlawfully obtained evidence. In addition, we will conduct an independent investigation to uncover favorable evidence, all in order to bring you the best possible outcome. 


There is no time to waste if you are facing criminal charges. Contact criminal lawyer Alex Laird today to schedule a free consultation where we will discuss your case in full detail and begin preparing your defense.