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Moncks Corner Legal Issues Blog

Is there a difference between assault and battery?

In many states, assault and battery get split into different criminal areas. For example, Texas defines assault as threatening another person with bodily harm, while battery is actual physical contact that results in injury.

Before 2012, South Carolina categorized assault and battery as separate crimes. Then the state combined the two into one charge. Now, the offense of assault and battery gets divided into four classifications.

The definitions

South Carolina uses three different phrases to determine assault and battery charges. They include:

  1. Great bodily injury

This definition concerns injury that may cause

  1. Moderate bodily injury

This injury includes the loss of consciousness or causes temporary or moderate disfigurement, loss of function of a body part or organ. The harm may require medical attention that involves anesthesia. Moderate bodily injury includes more than one medical treatment and does not need observation of scratches, cuts and abrasions.

  1. Private parts

Private parts refers to the genital area or buttocks of a male or female. It includes the breasts of a female.


South Carolina law divides assault and battery crimes into three degrees and a charge of a serious and aggravated nature. Second and third-degree charges are misdemeanors. The third-degree charge may have a fine up to $500 and require jail time up to 30 days. A fine of a second-degree offense is up to $2,500 with jail time of up to three years.

A first-degree charge of assault and battery is a felony. The act may include:

The penalty of a first-degree charge may include prison time up to 10 years.

The state says in its statutes that the worst offense is of a serious, aggravated nature. This is a slightly lesser offense to attempted murder. The offender must cause great bodily injury that could lead to death. The charge can lead to a punishment of up to 20 years in jail.