When many people think about assault and battery, they picture a person acting violently towards another. However, in many states including West Virginia, assault and battery charges can stem from much more than a violent action. If a prosecutor establishes all the elements necessary to prove assault and/or battery, as required by West Virginia law, the defendant may face serious criminal penalties.
What are the elements of assault and battery in West Virginia?
The first thing to note is that assault and battery are different violent crimes that could result in different consequences upon conviction. Assault, unlike battery, does not necessarily require physical contact or physical harm.
Under W. Va. Code Ann. Sec. 61-2-9(b), prosecutors must establish assault by showing that:
- The defendant caused injury to another person; or
- The defendant caused another person to reasonably fear impending violence through verbal or physical threats.
To establish battery, under W. Va. Code ann. Sec. 61-2-9(c), prosecutors must show:
- The defendant unlawfully and intentionally made physical contact with another person.
- The physical contact was insulting or provoking or caused physical harm.
If the prosecutor can successfully prove their case, the defendant could face an assault or battery conviction. Depending on the severity of the crime, the defendant could face years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, as well as damage to his or her reputation and job prospects. If you are facing assault or battery charges, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help by coming up with an effective defense strategy.