What Types of Physical Contact Can Be Considered Battery?
In October 2021, a Heltonville woman was arrested following an allegation that she had “head-butted” another woman earlier this year. According to news reports, the alleged perpetrator grabbed another woman by her shoulders, then head-butted the other woman—leaving the victim with bruising on her head. Given the women had some type of relationship, the defendant has been charged with a case of domestic battery, but it raises larger questions of just what actions can be considered battery.
What Is Battery?
Title 35 of Indiana state law says that battery has occurred when someone knowingly or intentionally “touches another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.” Battery also includes when someone “in a rude, insolent, or angry manner places any bodily fluid or waste on another person.”
If we break that apart, we can see that, battery requires an action, that being any form of unwanted touch. It also has two elements relating to the perpetrator: First, the perpetrator’s action must be intentional. So under Indiana law, there’s no such thing as an accidental battery. Secondly, there’s some negativity or hostility in the perpetrator’s action. If you grabbed someone’s hand for a hearty handshake, and had no ill intent in doing so, then that’s probably not a battery.
However, it is also important to notice what is not required to have committed battery: Injury. If a person was injured, then an alleged perpetrator could be charged with a more serious version of the crime, with additional potential prison time. But there’s no requirement that the other person was injured for the charge.
Examples of Battery
While battery charges would be unsurprising for violent physical acts such as punching someone or wounding someone with a knife, consider these other incidents that have also been charged as a battery:
- Forcibly putting a loaded gun in someone else’s mouth
- Spitting on a police officer
- Inappropriate sexual touching by a doctor during a medical exam
- Grabbing a child by the legs to force them to sit down in a chair
- Slapping someone on the face
As you can see, battery is a more expansive charge that covers much more than the usual “assault and battery” charges you see in TV cop shows. And the breadth of its application also means the range of possible charges and punishments can vary dramatically. That’s why, if you’ve been charged with battery, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Razumich & Associates today for a free case evaluation.