There are quite a few charges that are called “aggravated battery” and we’re going to dive into one of those today. Its called “aggravated battery causing great bodily harm”. Its a serious accusation, a second degree felony. You’re facing a maximum of 15 years in prison. And, the charge is so serious the scoresheet makes a little bit of mandatory prison baked in.
The main question we want to ask on a situation like this is–what is ‘great bodily harm’ as opposed to some not-so-great bodily harm? Depending on the injury, we defense attorneys are going to question why isn’t this a misdemeanor battery or a felony battery? Why do we have to go all the way up to a prison friendly aggravated battery charge?
We’re going to tell you today where this line is drawn so you can figure out what it means to cause great bodily harm. There’s not whole books about this, but there are chapters and we’re going to break down a few examples.
So, a few years ago, a woman got shot with a stun gun. I hope this never happens to me, or to you, but this stun gun did cause her to fall to the ground, shake uncontrollably, massive amounts of pain. Possibly some foaming at the mouth, but maybe not. The point being, this was pretty serious. Lots of pain.
The shooter was charged and convicted of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Done. Over. But they appealed that conviction and that conviction was actually thrown out because the appellate court said, look, the victim didn’t require any sort of medical treatment. The stun gun pain had no lasting effect. And, I suppose the courts are not taking into account any sort of nightmares that would be created by this. They just considered the physical with no lasting damage.
If there is permanent damage, by the way, then you do have aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. That’s how you cross the threshold. Permanent damage. Let me give you another real life example.
We’ve got this guy Gordon, arrested and convicted of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. he was accused of beating his girlfriend with a belt causing bruises everywhere. And the conviction though, the conviction was overturned because the bruises did not require any medical treatment–all the bruises fully healed.
So, if you have no serious bodily harm, you have no aggravated battery. Now, the charge could have been lowered to another battery (misdemeanor or felony?).
One more tough example here, real life. Juvenile stabs someone with a fork two or three times leaving swelling and puncture marks. Now, have we gotten to the point where we have an aggravated battery causing serious bodily harm? Nope.
His aggravated battery was thrown out because the injuries were not permanent. Yes, some stabbings of the fork, but everything healed up.
So, as you can see by these three examples, the severity of the injury and whether its permanent determines if you get this charge. Without lasting injury, a battery of this sort needs to be dropped down to a misdemeanor, needs to be dropped down to a felony battery. And, a felony battery is a tough line too. That will be a topic for another day.
Thanks for watching, take care.