The People’s Lawyer

When is an assault and battery a felony?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

People in West Virginia will get into various disputes and fights with others throughout their lives. People handle these disputes in different ways, but sometimes, people will be in a physical fight. The state takes assault and battery charges seriously and there can be serious consequences to try and deter people from harming each other physically.

People who either threaten to harm people or do harm others can be charged with assault and battery charges. Like other types of crimes, there are different severity levels for assaults and battery. If they only cause minor harm or injuries, they will likely face misdemeanor charges.

Elements of felony assault and battery

There are also two different levels of felony charges. Under West Virginia statutes, if people maliciously cut, stab, shoot others or harm them in any other way with the intent to seriously hurt them or kill them, they can be charged with a felony. If convicted of the crime, they could be sentenced to prison for a minimum of two years and up to ten years.

If the above stated acts occur, but they are not done maliciously, it is still a felony, but the prison sentence is reduced to between one and five years. People could also be sent to jail for up to one year and have a fine of $500.

Either type of felony is serious and could result in prison time if people are convicted. However, there could be defenses. Also, the severity of the punishment depends on whether people acted maliciously, which the prosecutor would have the burden of proving.

Assault and battery charges in West Virginia are serious charges, especially if they are felony charges. However, being charged does not necessarily mean people are guilty. People will only have these consequences if they are convicted. This requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. Experienced attorneys understand the elements of these crimes and may be able to provide guidance through the process.