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  • What is an Assault, Anyway?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    assaultThe terms “assault” and “battery” are used synonymously, and are interchanged quite frequently – even by law enforcement. However, when it comes to the criminal courts, these are two very distinct terms. If you are being accused or arrested for either, it is important to understand the difference, but also have criminal representation. These charges include extreme consequences that could impact the rest of your life.

    Under New Mexico law, assault is defined as the attempt to physically harm another person. It can also be the threat of battery or menacing that makes someone believe that he or she is in physical danger. Also, the use of insulting language that challenges a person could be considered assault.

    Battery, on the other hand, is the use of physical contact or force against another person. While these can be charged together, it is important to understand that you are facing two different charges.

    Felony Consequences

    Assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor offense in New Mexico, unless there was the use of a deadly weapon.  Also, if you concealed your identity during the commission of the assault, you may be charged with aggravated assault, which is a fourth degree felony. If you are charged with an assault and you intended to commit a violent felony, the penalties are enhanced, and you could face third degree felony charges.

    The consequences of these types of convictions are very severe. When you are being convicted of an assault, you could face incarceration, fines, probation and federal gun limitations. A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life and could affect your ability to get employment, seek out housing, or even receive certain forms of financial assistance from the state and local governments. This is why it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away.

    If you are convicted of assault in New Mexico, you could face:

    • Up to six months in jail
    • A fine of up to $500
    • Probation for up to six month

    If you are convicted of battery in New Mexico, you could face:

    • Up to six months in jail
    • A fine of up to $500
    • Probation for up to six months

    You could also face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor battery conviction.

    What is Battery?

    The New Mexico criminal statutes define battery as an unlawful, intentional touching or application of force to another. This is done in an angry or violent nature, and is purposeful. Striking a person with your fist during an argument could be considered battery. But, in order to be charged with battery, there must be proof of intentional conduct, meaning that your threats or physical actions were intentional and not accidental. For example, if you made a statement as a joke to a friend or family member, that is not considered assault or battery.

    Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery

    The law has stricter rules when it comes to assault or battery claims in conjunction with domestic violence. Any assault or battery on a household member – such as a spouse or live-in partner – is a petty misdemeanor in the state of New Mexico. Battery against a family member is also a misdemeanor.

    Avoid the Harsh Penalties – Contact a New Mexico Criminal Defense Attorney

    If you have been arrested for assault or battery, do not risk your freedom. Instead, contact a team of criminal defense attorneys who will aggressively fight for your rights. Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today for a free case evaluation at 505-375-4661 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.