The phrase “You are under arrest for assault and battery” is so common in American crime drama that many people believe that assault and battery is a single crime. The reality is much more complex than this. Different states have different definitions regarding “assault” and “battery.”
In some states “assault and battery” is a single crime. In others, like Mississippi, they are completely separate charges. According to FindLaw, Mississippi is unique in that it only recognizes battery in the form of “sexual battery.”
What is sexual battery?
Sexual battery involves penetrating another individual with a body part or instrument without the consent of that individual. Sexual battery also has certain protected classes. While it is illegal to penetrate anybody without their consent, additional protected classes involve victims who are mentally defective, incapacitated or physically helpless.
Sexual battery also involves penetrating a victim under the age of 14 if the accused is 24 months or older than the victim. It can also apply to persons who penetrate victims between the ages of 14-16 if the accused is 36 months or older than the victim. Additionally, if the victim is over 18 years of age but the accused is in a position of trust or authority over the victim, state prosecutors can recommend sexual battery charges to the court.
What are the penalties for sexual battery?
The penalties for sexual battery in Mississippi vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the age of the alleged victim. In general, the courts may punish sexual battery with up to five years in prison as a maximum. The courts may also apply fines starting at $5,000 and capping at $10,000.