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Assault and Battery – Violent Crime

Assault and Battery are the two most common types of violent crime in Idaho. If you have watched a lot of cop shows on TV, you may have heard people use the phrase “assault-and-battery” as if it were one crime. That is incorrect. In Idaho assault and battery are two distinct crimes with wholly different elements, potential punishments, and defenses. Additionally, each crime can be graded as a misdemeanor or felony in Idaho and depending on the circumstance, certain sentencing enhancements can apply. If you have been charged with a crime the Idaho criminal defense lawyers at Racine Olson, PLLP can walk you through every element, and help you prepare the best defense possible.


Assault is the crime of threatening or attempting to injure another person (I.C. § 18-901). In order to commit assault, you have to have the apparent ability to do so. So, if a five-year-old threatens to beat up Arnold Schwarzenegger – it’s probably not assault. Assaults also have a time component. If you threaten to hurt someone a week from now, that is not assault. The threat has to be imminent. Assault is graded as a misdemeanor in Idaho and is punishable by up to 3 months of incarceration and a $1000 fine.


Battery is the crime of actually touching, striking, or causing harm to another person (I.C. § 18-903). The kinds of acts that can constitute battery are wide ranging. There are obvious things like punching, slapping, and kicking that clearly qualify for battery. In one Idaho case, a woman in the hospital pulled out an IV line and flung it toward a doctor. Although the IV did not make contact, blood and fluid from the line did, and this was enough to convict the woman of battery.State v. Nuse, 163 Idaho 262, 409 P.3d 842 (Ct. App. 2017), review denied (Jan. 23, 2018). Battery is graded as a misdemeanor in Idaho and is punishable by up to 6 months of incarceration and a $1000 fine.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the crime of assault committed with adeadly weapon, some other means likely to produce great bodily harm, or with corrosive or caustic chemicals (I.C. § 18-905). The same elements of threat or attempt from regular assault apply. The classic version of aggravated assault is a threat made by pointing a gun at another person. That being said, a weapon is not necessary for an aggravated assault conviction, rather the threat or attempt simply has to be likely to cause great bodily harm. A qualified criminal defense attorney in Idaho can help parse out the differences between misdemeanor assault, other misdemeanor gun crime, and felony aggravated assault, which can make a world of difference to the accused. Aggravated Assault is graded as a felony in Idaho, and is punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a $5000 fine.

Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery is the crime of battery committed with adeadly weapon causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, with corrosive or caustic chemicals, or against a pregnant woman with serious harm to the child (I.C. § 18-907). Shootings and attacks with knives, bats, and other weapons all typically qualify as aggravated battery. Additionally, an attack without a weapon can easily be aggravated battery if enough harm is caused. Aggravated battery is graded as a felony in Idaho, and is punishable by up to 15 years incarceration and a $50,000 fine.


In Idaho, certain criminal acts can be enhanced based on the particular facts of the case. Idaho’s three strikes law (I.C. § 19-2541) mandates a minimum sentence for third time felony offenders of 5 years incarceration and a maximum of life. Use of a deadly weapon in aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or a number of other crimes will enhance the maximum penalty by an additional 15 years (I.C. § 19-2520). In other words, if a deadly weapon is used, aggravated assault is punishable by up to 20 years incarceration, and aggravated battery by 30 years incarceration. A qualified criminal defense attorney in Idaho knows all the twists and turns of the Idaho Code, and can help you navigate them.

Fighting the Charges

Assault and battery charges tend to come from incidents where people failed to keep their cool and overreacted to a tense situation. A few seconds of bad decision making should not ruin your life. An attorney experienced in violent crime defense can help you fight the charges against you at trial. Preparing to fight every case, at every turn, often leads to the best results in the end. Regardless of whether you want to take your case to verdict, or work out a deal for a lesser sentence, being ready, willing, and able to fight is key. The attorneys at Racine Olson are always prepared to take every case to trial.

Contact Us

The knowledgeable, experienced, and diligent attorneys at Racine Olson, PLLP are here to help you and your family when you need it the most. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, our Idaho criminal defense attorneys are prepared to guide you through the legal process and fight for you at every turn. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson, PLLP team of criminal defense attorneys. You can also email Richard Block directly at We stand ready to answer your questions and help solve your criminal defense needs.

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