In Oklahoma, an assault and battery is just a normal everyday fight where you punch a person, hit a person, push a person, or engage in any harmful or offensive touching. The assault and battery become aggravated when committed in a couple of different ways.
- The first type of Oklahoma aggravated assault and battery crime is when great bodily injury is inflicted upon the person that's assaulted.
- The second type of Oklahoma aggravated assault and battery is when an assault and battery is committed by a person of robust health or strength upon someone who's aged, decrepit, or incapacitated.
What Does Great Bodily Injury Mean?
Of those two types of aggravated assault and battery, the most common type involves great bodily injury. An important consideration is to figure out what great bodily injury means.
In Oklahoma, great bodily injury means bone fracture, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ, or mental faculty, or substantial risk of death. In Oklahoma state courts, aggravated assault and battery carry a much different sentencing range than just a simple assault and battery. A simple assault and battery where you get in a bar fight is a maximum of 90 days in the county jail.
However, once the facts cause the charge to become aggravated, and again, the one we see most often is when great bodily injury is inflicted upon someone else. And that great bodily injury most often is a bone fracture. So, if you, for the most simple purposes, get in a fight, and in the course of that fight, you break somebody's bone, you could, depending upon the facts of that fight, argument, or disagreement, be charged with aggravated assault and battery. And that carries up to five years in prison, or there's a potential sentencing option of one year in the county jail. But you're still going to be a convicted felon, whether you go the prison route or the jail route as part of sentencing.
Simple Assault and Battery
Simple assault and battery carries up to 90 days in jail. It is a misdemeanor, so you'll spend time in the county jail. When you fracture a person's bone with a punch, you might be charged with aggravated assault and battery, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Now, as we discussed in the beginning, maiming is one of the charges that is similar to aggravated assault and battery. I will tell you that most often when we see a maiming case or charge, you're looking at a sentencing range of up to life in prison in Oklahoma state courts. Maiming is where you inflict upon another a physical injury that disables, disfigures, or seriously diminishes physical vigor with the intent to cause injury.
What have we seen historically in Tulsa for these types of maiming cases? The type of situation where the accused has poured hot grease or boiling water on someone, burnt someone, or put some type of chemical that's going to burn, mar, and permanently disfigure on the individual. We've seen a couple of these cases over the last few years in Tulsa district courts. Fact patterns where a Dad pours boiling water on his kid as punishment. A guy that was pissed off at his wife, they were frying some chicken and took a pan of hot oil and poured it on her back terribly scarring and disfiguring her for life.
Those types of cases, where they performed that physical injury that disables or disfigures another, and they performed it with the intent to cause an injury. Not like if you're just in a fight and somebody happens to break a bone. That's a significantly different type of case again because of a fourth element that we have in the maiming statute, which is where the physical injury, the infliction upon another of that physical injury, was performed with the intent to cause any injury and the effect that it has on the person, the permanent physical injury that disables and disfigures an individual is what makes it different.
Now, under the maiming statute, does the injury need to be permanent? Yes.
Now is it possible that the individual could recover prior to trial? Yes.
If the person has recovered prior to trial, the injury is not sufficient to sustain a conviction for maiming. The statute requires some degree of permanency.