Aggravated battery is a term used in criminal law to describe an act of battery that is more severe than simple battery. Simple battery is the intentional touching of another person with the goal of doing harm, however small the degree of harm actually is. This includes direct touching as well as touching or harming with an object or substance. An act of simple battery is usually considered a misdemeanor. Aggravated battery is indicated when an aggravating factor is introduced to the act. This generally results in a more severe degree of harm inflicted and is usually considered a felony.
Aggravating or enhancing factors may include the involvement of a child, a woman, an elderly person, or a government agent. Instead, it may involve a particular location. Battery occurring in school zones, on public transit, or at other protected places may be considered aggravated battery. Other factors indicating aggravated battery may be the use of a deadly weapon, a hate crime, or serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is an injury that involves risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme pain, loss of a limb, or impairment of an organ. The actual presence of a weapon isn't required; the victim must simply believe a weapon was present.
Whether or not an act of battery is designated as simple or aggravated has a significant impact on the level of punishment attached. Since most simple batteries are charged as misdemeanors, if jail time is assigned it will be less than a year. However, a misdemeanor may only result in probation or other smaller punishment, depending on the level of injury and specific circumstances. Aggravated battery is a felony, which typically means the punishment can involve more than one year of jail time. Other punishment may include probation with electronic monitoring, parole, loss of the right to possess a firearm, restitution to the victim, or fines.
Of course, punishment depends greatly on individual circumstances as well as location, since laws vary by state and country. Many who are charged with criminal aggravated battery may also be sued in civil cases. In fact, even those that are not charged with criminal aggravated battery may face a civil suit because intent to do harm is not required. The only requirement is that the touching be without consent. A civil battery case is usually intended to recoup any loss or damages incurred by the victim of the battery.