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February 23, 2015

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What are the Different “Degrees” of Assault and Battery?

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If you’re’ charged with Assault and Battery in Myrtle Beach or the surrounding area, you are probably wondering what the difference is between first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree assault and battery. There are many levels of A&B in South Carolina, and the difference is not as clear-cut as you might think.

Both assault and battery third-degree and second-degree are considered misdemeanors in South Carolina, although the penalty is quite different. Third-degree assault and battery is a 30-day misdemeanor in magistrate court, while Second-Degree A&B is punishable by 0-3 years and is triable in the Court of General Sessions. A third-degree assault and battery is typically prosecuted by the arresting officer, while the second-degree assault and battery is prosecuted by the Solicitor’s Office of the county where the event allegedly took place. Assault and Battery First-Degree as well as Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature are both felonies, punishable by 0-10 years and 0-20 years, respectively.

All levels of assault and battery have similar elements: “if the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.” The difference between the degrees is the level of injury involved. I’ve compiled a list of the offenses, the penalty, and the level of injury involved.

Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature requires that “great bodily injury” occur or could have possibly occurred. It is a felony punishable by 0-20 years in prison, of which 85% must be served.

Assault and Battery, First-Degree is a lesser offense of ABHAN and requires that a “serious bodily injury” occur or could have possibly occurred. It is a felony punishable by 0-10 years in prison.

Assault and Battery, Second-Degree is a lesser offense of all of the above, and is a misdemeanor that requires “moderate bodily injury” to have occurred. It is a misdemeanor punishable by 0-3 years in prison.

Assault and Battery, Third-Degree is a lesser offense of all of the above and is a misdemeanor that requires “injury” to another person. It is a misdemeanor punishable by 0-30 days or a fine of up to $500. It is tried in magistrate court.

If you are charged with assault and battery, make sure to contact an attorney you can trust. Call Attorney Grant Smaldone at 843-808-2100 today for a free consultation.

 

February 20, 2015

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Should I get an attorney for a minor traffic ticket?

For most of us, minor traffic tickets such as speeding and running a red light are our only brushes with the criminal justice system in SC. So, if it’s your only brush with the law, you may not know whether to get an attorney on your particular case or not. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have a criminal defense attorney on speed dial, and we aren’t sure if a lawyer will even benefit us for a minor offense.

Truth be told, you can always just show up and pay the fine. Surrender, admit guilt, pay a fine, and be done with it. But will you really be done with it? Many times, traffic offenses can raise your insurance premiums. A higher monthly payment might surpass the small-by-comparison investment in a lawyer. Additionally, multiple tickets can add up to accumulated license points, leading to a possible suspension down the road.

A lawyer can help you wade through the murky world of traffic tickets. Often times, they can work out an arrangement with no points on your license and minimal risk of your insurance carrier raising your premium. Perhaps best of all, you won’t have to appear in court!

So, the answer to the question “should I get an attorney for a minor traffic ticket” is certainly up to you. While it’s always easier to just pay a fine and forget about it, you can be assured that your insurance company will not “just forget about it.”