The degree of your assault charge can be determined by the complainant’s injury severity as defined by South Carolina Code §16-3-600(A). Here are the legal definitions:

Great Bodily Injury

This can be part of an assault and battery high and aggravated (ABHAN) or assault and battery first degree charge. It means an injury causing:

  • A substantial risk of death, or
  • Serious permanent disfigurement, or
  • Protracted loss or impairment of a body part or organ.

This type injury is often involved in shootings, stabbings, and extremely severe beatings.

Moderate Bodily Injury

This can be part of assault and battery second degree. It means an injury:

  • Involving prolonged unconsciousness, or
  • Causing temporary or moderate disfigurement, or
  • Causing temporary loss of function of a body part or organ, or
  • Requiring local or general anesthesia, or
  • Resulting in a fracture or dislocation.

It specifically excludes minor injuries that don’t usually require extensive medical care, like cuts and scratches, bruises, and even burns.

Your Case Outcome Isn’t Set in Stone

These definitions don’t have to be the final word on whether you even get convicted, or whether you have to take the full rap. As regrettable as it is, how bad the complainant got hurt doesn’t legally matter if you’ve got a defense, like self-defense. Even if you have no defense, that’s all the more reason to seek a talented criminal defense attorney to help protect you from getting locked up.

And remember, you might have defenses you don’t know, as a sharp defense attorney might find loopholes in these definitions to reduce the charge, or he may just negotiate a better deal for you.

If you’ve got questions about the injuries in your assault and battery case, or any other questions, fill out our Get Help Now form to get them answered.


Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.