If you are unfamiliar with the difference between criminal battery and civil battery, you could find yourself confused should you be charged with either crime. Generally speaking, the primary difference between the two is the intent required.
With criminal battery, the presence of mens rea is a must. This means there was criminal intent to do some type of wrong. In most cases, simple criminal battery is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, if the crime is more serious or a person has been charged in the past, it is possible for more severe treatment to come into play.
Take for example a person who has been charged with criminal battery several times in the past. At some point, if the individual is charged again, the crime could be prosecuted as a felony.
When criminal battery cases involve domestic violence, most states do not permit the battery charges to be dropped. This holds true even if the victim makes the request.
Note: Many states have a penal code noting the specifics of a sexual battery crime.
When a person is charged with criminal battery, it will not be long before he or she is going through the legal system and learning more about the crime. Anybody in this position should know the difference between civil and criminal battery. It is also a good idea to better understand if the crime is being prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony.
No two charges of criminal battery are the same, so there is no way of knowing exactly what will happen as your case in Pennsylvania moves forward. The right defense strategy may be able to help you avoid a more serious charge and punishment.
Source: FindLaw, “Battery Basics,” accessed Feb. 24, 2016