Greenville Assault Lawyer

Assault charges can be deceptively difficult to contest effectively in court, especially without guidance from a seasoned legal professional. By the letter of the law, simple assault does not require bodily harm to occur or even any physical contact between two parties to qualify as a criminal offense, and the language used to differentiate between misdemeanor and felony variants of assault is unfortunately vague.

If you retain an experienced Greenville assault lawyer to help with your case defense, you could leverage their expertise in your own best interests and significantly improve your odds of a favorable outcome. A qualified criminal defense attorney could not only explain the nature of your charges to you and how state law specifically defines them, but also work with you to build a comprehensive defense strategy based on tactics that have worked in prior cases.

Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Greenville

South Carolina Code of Laws §16-3-600 defines four different degrees of assault and battery, two of which are classified as misdemeanors and two of which are classified as felonies. The least severe variant of this offense is assault and battery in the third degree, also known as “simple assault,” which entails someone attempting to injure or actually causing injury to another person. Someone convicted of simple assault in Greenville may face up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

Second-degree assault and battery is also a misdemeanor offense, but a considerably more severe one than third-degree assault. As per state law, second-degree assault entails an attack that was intended to or actually did cause “moderate bodily injury,” or which involved nonconsensual contact—under or above clothing—with the alleged target’s private parts. A conviction for second-degree assault may result in a maximum three-year jail sentence and/or $2,500 fine.

Depending on the circumstances, a defendant with no prior criminal record may be able to negotiate a second-degree assault charge down to a third-degree assault charge through a plea deal. A Greenville assault attorney could discuss on a case-by-case basis whether this might be a possibility.

When Does Assault Become a Felony Offense?

If injury results from a defendant’s actions, they may be charged with felony first-degree assault if their actions involved nonconsensual lewd contact with their target’s genitals. If assault occurs without battery, it may be considered first-degree assault if it was accomplished by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury. Whether battery occurs or not, any form of assault committed during an act of burglary, kidnapping, robbery, or theft is automatically assault in the first degree, meaning it is punishable by up to ten years in prison upon conviction.

Finally, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature is the most severe form of assault codified under state law—in fact, as per South Carolina Code of Laws §16-3-600(B)(3), it is considered a lesser-included offense of attempted murder. This variant of assault involves a defendant causing “great bodily injury” to someone else, or causing any injury through means likely to cause great bodily harm or death. Since this offense is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison, seeking help from a skilled assault attorney is especially crucial for anyone in Greenville facing this particular type of charge.

Speak with a Greenville Assault Attorney Today

It can be dangerous to assume an assault charge will be easy to combat by yourself. Even if you were only accused of a misdemeanor offense, a conviction could still lead to you serving jail time and paying steep fines, and more severe offenses have the potential to put you in prison for several years and permanently brand you as a felon.

No matter what the circumstances of your case are, a dedicated Greenville assault lawyer could help you pursue the best possible resolution to them. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.