Assault & Battery Lawyer

Summerville · Moncks Corner · Goose Creek · Charleston

Assault and battery charges can have serious consequences that include prison time, fines, and restitution. You may have defenses that will allow your attorney to get your charges dismissed or win your case at trial, or there may be other options to keep your record clean.

Fight Your Assault & Battery Charges.

If you have been charged with assault and battery, whether it is a simple assault in the magistrate court or a felony assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN), you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately.

You may have defenses to the charges which could include self-defense or defense of others, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program, or you may have other options that would allow us to get your case dismissed or win your case at trial.

Your attorneys at the Seaton & Duncan will investigate your case, prepare your case for trial, and negotiate to get your charges dismissed and to keep your record clean whenever possible.

Understanding Assault & Battery Charges

Assault and battery charges in SC cover a wide range of conduct including a misdemeanor for threatening someone, a 20-year felony for causing great bodily injury, or life in prison for an assault by two or more people.

Although most assault and battery charges involve either physical violence or threatened physical violence, first or second-degree assault and battery can also include unwanted sexual touching.

Assault and battery charges are divided into four degrees – first, second, or third degree, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Each “level” of assault and battery has its own set of elements that must be proven by the state and potential penalties that increase with the severity of the alleged offense.

SC also has an offense called “assault and battery by mob” which applies when two or more people inflict violence on someone.

Assault and Battery by Mob

When more than one person inflicts violence as a group, SC law treats the offense more seriously.

If two or more people inflict violence on another person, they could be looking at life in prison:

  • Assault and battery by mob first degree (death results): 30 years to life in prison.
  • Assault and battery by mob second degree (serious bodily injury results): Three years to 25 years in prison.
  • Assault and battery by mob third degree (any bodily injury results): up to one year in prison.

Next, we will take a look at the four degrees of assault and battery charges in SC.

Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature

A person can be found guilty of ABHAN if they injure someone (threatening is not enough) and:

  • It results in great bodily injury, or
  • It was likely to result in great bodily injury or death.

ABHAN carries up to 20 years in prison.

Assault and Battery First Degree

First-degree assault and battery involves:

  1. Injuring someone and:
    1. Touching their private parts without consent, or
    2. The injury happened during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft; or
  2. Threatening or attempting to injure someone and:
    1. The assault would have caused great bodily injury or death, or
    2. It happened during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft.

First-degree assault and battery carries up to ten years in prison.

Assault and Battery Second Degree

Second-degree assault and battery involves injuring or threatening to injure a person and:

  • Moderate bodily injury results or could have resulted, or
  • It also involved touching a person’s private parts without consent.

Second-degree assault and battery carries up to three years in prison

Assault and Battery Third Degree

Third-degree assault and battery involves either:

  • Injuring another person, or
  • Threatening to injure them.

Third-degree assault and battery is a misdemeanor offense that carries up to 30 days in jail and is ordinarily heard in the magistrate or municipal court.

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FOUR (4) STEPS To Take If You’ve Been
Arrested for Assault & Battery

1. Contact an Attorney

Contact an attorney: Knowledgeable criminal defense counsel can make you aware of your rights and prevent mistakes from occurring. Having a lawyer by your side can stop law enforcement from bullying you during interrogations.

2. Do Not Talk to Police

Do not discuss your case with the police: Talking to the police about seemingly innocuous case details without an attorney can damage your defense. The police may take what you say out of context and use your words against you in the courtroom. Trying to convince the police of your innocence after your arrest can only hurt your case.

3. Do Not Talk to Friends or Family

Do not discuss your case with friends or family: Anything that you say to anyone about your case can be used against you. Do not post about your case on social media or send messages about your charges.

4. Do Not Lose Hope

Do not lose hope about your case: No matter the details of your case, no prosecutor has a guaranteed conviction. There are so many things that can go wrong with a prosecutor’s case. Our lawyer can investigate the evidence and show why there may be problems. Do not accept a plea deal without talking to our attorney.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Common Questions About Assault & Battery Charges in SC

Can I Be Charged with Assault and Battery if I Didn’t Touch the Person?

You could be charged with assault and battery third degree, second degree, or first degree without even touching the person, if you threatened to injure them and the other elements of the offense are proven (see above).

Assault and battery by a mob or assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN), however, require some type of injury as an element of the crime.

Which Court are Assault and Battery Charges Heard In?

Assault and Battery 3rd degree charges are heard in the magistrate court, while 2nd and 1st degree are in General Sessions Court.

Assault and battery 3rd degree charges are usually heard in the magistrate or municipal court because the maximum penalty is 30 days in jail.

Assault and battery 1st degree and 2nd degree charges, as well as charges for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, are always heard in General Sessions Court, which is the “criminal side” of SC’s circuit court. With few exceptions, any charges that carry a potential sentence greater than 30 days will be heard in General Sessions Court.

Can I Get Pretrial Intervention (PTI) for Assault and Battery Charges?

Criminal sexual conduct with a minor is a completely separate charge from regular CSC charges.


Most assault and battery charges will not be eligible for pretrial diversion, but some may be if:

  • It is a minor offense,
  • You have no (or minimal) prior record,
  • The prosecutor agrees that PTI is appropriate, and
  • The alleged victim agrees to pretrial diversion.

You have a better chance at getting into a pretrial diversion program if your attorney investigates your case, gathers mitigation to persuade the prosecutor, and you are willing to pay full restitution for any injuries suffered by the alleged victim.