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What to know about assault and battery laws in Arkansas

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Assault & Battery

Interpersonal confrontations in Arkansas can sometimes lead to criminal charges. When an incident involves physical violence, the people involved or witnesses might contact local authorities. Police officers might arrest someone for their involvement in a dispute, and Arkansas prosecutors might decide to bring charges against someone.

Depending on what happens during an interpersonal conflict, the state might accuse someone of assault or possibly battery. Whether or not the circumstances involved alcohol could also influence the charges and consequences someone faces.

What is the difference between assault and battery?

In some states, the law treats assault and battery as interchangeable terms. The approach in Arkansas is a bit different. They are completely separate offenses, although someone accused of assault might face battery charges as well.

Assault is the less serious of the two offenses. There are three different degrees of simple assault under Arkansas law. Third-degree assault occurs when someone causes another person to fear imminent physical injury. Verbally threatening someone or gesturing with a weapon could constitute third-degree assault. Second-degree assault involves reckless behavior that puts other people at risk of injury. First-degree assault involves reckless conduct that could cause serious injury or death. Intentional strangulation or blocking someone’s mouth and nose could also constitute first-degree assault.

The state can also pursue aggravated assault charges in cases involving certain types of weapons, interference in someone’s respiration or conduct that puts someone at significant risk of death. Aggravated assault is the only type of assault that typically leads to felony charges.

Battery, on the other hand, is often a felony offense. It involves causing injury to another person. Third-degree battery might involve drugging someone or causing injury or impairment to another party. Second-degree battery occurs if someone causes serious injury to another with a weapon while under the influence or when someone injures law enforcement professionals or other state employees.

Typically, second-degree battery is a felony offense. First-degree battery is usually a felony charge that results from causing serious injury to another person with a deadly weapon or permanently disfiguring someone. Injuring someone severely during the commission of a felony could also lead to first-degree battery charges.

The involvement of alcohol or weapons in such offenses may trigger a higher-degree charge in some cases and does not serve as a justification for someone’s conduct. Understanding what factors influence criminal charges and what penalties the state may impose can help people to more effectively prepare to defend against pending assault or battery accusations.