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Battery - Elements, Punishment - Aggravated Battery

serious harm assault contact

At common law, an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the "person" of another.

Battery is concerned with the right to have one's body left alone by others.

Battery is both a tort and a crime. Its essential element, harmful or offensive contact, is the same in both areas of the law. The main distinction between the two categories lies in the penalty imposed. A defendant sued for a tort is civilly liable to the plaintiff for damages. The punishment for criminal battery is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Usually battery is prosecuted as a crime only in cases involving serious harm to the victim.

Aggravated Battery

When a battery is committed with intent to do serious harm or murder, or when it is done with a dangerous weapon, it is described as aggravated. A weapon is considered dangerous whenever the purpose for using it is to cause death or serious harm. State statutes define aggravated battery in various ways—such as assault with intent to kill. Under such statutes, assault means both battery and assault. It is punishable as a felony in all states.

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