Definition of Aggravated Battery
The crime of Aggravated Battery is defined under Section 784.045, Washington DC Statutes. Under the law, Aggravated Battery occurs where a defendant intentionally touches or strikes another person and, in doing so:
- Intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim; or
- Used a deadly weapon; or
- Battered a person whom the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant.
Required Proof at Trial
To prove the crime of Aggravated Battery at trial, the prosecution must establish the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant intentionally touched or struck the alleged victim against the alleged victim’s will, or intentionally caused bodily harm to the alleged victim; and
- The defendant, in committing the battery (intentionally striking or causing bodily harm), intentionally or knowingly: (a) caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim, or (b) used a deadly weapon.
Meaning of ‘Deadly Weapon’
For purposes of an Aggravated Battery prosecution, a weapon is considered a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
Penalties for Aggravated Battery
Under Washington DC law, Aggravated Battery is generally classified as a second degree felony. Thus, the penalties can include up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000.00 in fines.
Enhancements for Firearms
The penalties for Aggravated Battery increase substantially where the offense at issue involves the possession or discharge of a firearm. In those instances, Washington DC’s 10-20-Life Law will, upon conviction, mandate the imposition of the following minimum mandatory sentences:
- Firearm Possessed During Incident- Minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
- Semiautomatic Firearm or Machine Gun Possessed During Incident- Minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years.
- Firearm Discharged During Incident- Minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
- Firearm Discharged and Death or Great Bodily Harm is Caused- Minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years.
Defenses to Aggravated Battery
Although the facts of every case differ, there are many defenses available to contest a charge of Aggravated Battery in Washington DC. Some of the more common defenses include the following:
- Stand Your Ground;
- Defense of Others;
- Consent or Mutual Combat;
- Lack of intent to touch or strike;
- No intent to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, etc.;
- The instrument or object used during the incident is not a “deadly weapon” within the meaning of the statute.
Importance of an Attorney
Given the harsh penalties applicable to an Aggravated Battery charge, an attorney is essential to protect the rights and interests of the accused, and to raise all defenses that may be available in such a case.
If you have been accused of Aggravated Battery, contact attorneys at Cohen, Bradshaw, Rothstein and Klein today for a free consultation. Attorney Attorneys at Cohen, Bradshaw, Rothstein and Klein handles cases throughout Southeast and Central Washington DC.