Assault in Kansas is any intentional act or threat of action that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Threatening to beat someone, when said in a menacing or angry manner, is an assault if the victim believes or could reasonably believe that he is about to be struck or injured. (K.S.A. §21-5412(a).)
Battery in Kansas is actual offensive physical contact, such as punching another person or hitting someone with an object, or intentional infliction of injury to another. (K.S.A. §21-5413(a).)
An aggravated assault, a felony in Kansas, is an assault that is committed:
- with a deadly weapon
- while disguised in a manner designed to conceal identity, or
- with intent to commit any felony.
Aggravated assault in Kansas is a severity level 7 felony. Aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, in uniform or properly identified and engaged in the performance of his duties, is a severity level 6 felony.
It is an aggravated battery in Kansas to:
- knowingly or recklessly cause great bodily harm or disfigurement to another (severity level 4 felony, level 5 if reckless)
- knowingly or recklessly cause bodily harm to another with a deadly weapon or in any manner that might cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death (severity level 7 felony, level 8 if reckless) or
- knowingly cause offensive physical contact with another with a deadly weapon or in any manner that might cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death (severity level 7 felony).
Aggravated Battery Against a Law Enforcement Officer
Someone commits aggravated battery against a law enforcement when the assailant commits any of the following acts against a police officer, corrections officer, or university or campus police officer in uniform or properly identified and engaged in the performance of his duties, if the assailant knows or reasonably should know the victim is a law enforcement officer :
- knowingly causes great bodily harm or disfigurement (severity level 3 felony)
- knowingly causes bodily harm to another with a deadly weapon or in any manner that might cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death (severity level 4 felony)
- knowingly causes offensive physical contact with another with a deadly weapon or in any manner that might cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death (severity level 4 felony), or
- knowingly causes bodily harm with a motor vehicle (severity level 3 felony).
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Aggravated sexual battery consists of touching someone over the age of 16 without consent, for the purpose of sexual arousal or pleasure when:
- the victim is overwhelmed by force or fear
- the victim is physically powerless or unconscious, or
- the victim lacks the capacity to consent because of a mental condition or disorder or because of intoxication, if the offender knows or reasonably should know the is victim intoxicated.
Aggravated sexual battery is a severity level 5 felony. (K.S.A. §21-5505.)
Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Battery in Kansas
A severity level 1 felony is the most serious felony in Kansas and a severity level 10 felony is the least serious. The sentence for a felony in Kansas is calculated based on the severity level of the felony and the defendant’s criminal history, using sentencing grids in the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines. Someone with a criminal history can face a higher potential penalty than someone with a clean record, even though both parties are charged with the same felony. The Guidelines also provide for different categories of sentencing based either on the offense itself or a combination of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history or lack thereof. The categories include:
- “presumptive imprisonment” (no probation permitted – defendant must serve the underlying sentence in prison)
- “presumptive probation” (sentence should be an alternative other than imprisonment, such as probation, Community Correctional Services Program, Conservation Camp (supervised living arrangements), house arrest, work release program, and alcohol and drug counseling), and
- “border box” sentences (imprisonment or non-prison alternatives at the court’s discretion).
The court must follow the sentencing guidelines unless the court finds aggravating or mitigating factors – “substantial and compelling reasons” that justify a more severe or less severe punishment than provided in the guidelines (K.S.A. §21-6801.) When the court wants to sentence a defendant to a term that is longer than the one specified in the guidelines, the defendant is entitled to have a jury determine whether the basis for the upward departure is true, beyond a reasonable doubt (does not apply when the basis for the increase is a properly plead prior conviction).
If a firearm is used in the commission of an aggravated assault or battery, the offense is a “presumptive imprisonment” offense.
In some instances where an aggravated battery offense falls in to the “presumptive imprisonment” category, such as a conviction for aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer where the defendant has only a misdemeanor record or no criminal history at all, the court has the discretion to impose an “optional nonprison sentence” without having to find mitigating factors that allow departure from the sentencing guidelines. The court must find that there is a treatment program available which would be beneficial to the defendant’s rehabilitation and promote the safety of the public by preventing the defendant from re-offending. (K.S.A. §21-6804.)
Possible Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Battery in Kansas
Severity Level 8: 7 – 23 months imprisonment or fine up to $100,000 or both
Severity Level 7: 11 – 34 months imprisonment or fine up to $100,000 or both
Severity Level 6: 17 – 46 months imprisonment or fine up o $100,000 or both
Severity Level 5: 31 – 136 months imprisonment or fine up to $300,000 or both
Severity Level 4: 38 – 172 months imprisonment or fine up to $300,000 or both
Severity Level 3: 55 – 247 months imprisonment or fine up to $300,000 or both. (K.S.A. §§21-6604, -6611, -6804.)
Anyone who uses ballistic resistant material (a bullet proof vest, for example) in the commission of an aggravated assault or battery will be sentenced to an additional 30 months imprisonment.
The court can impose probation instead of jail or prison time. A person on probation must meet regularly with a probation officer and comply with conditions set by the court, such as no further arrests or convictions, attending counseling or performing community service. If a person violates a condition of probation, he can be arrested and required to serve the remainder or a remaining part of his sentence in jail.
A person convicted of aggravated assault or battery in Kansas must pay restitution, which means reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling. (K.S.A. §21-6604.)
Pleas and Pre-Trial Options
If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault or battery in Kansas, an attorney can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. If the charges are not dismissed, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors often will negotiate and agree to let the defendant plead guilty to a different, less serious crime. Or, the prosecutor may agree to a lighter sentence, such as probation, in exchange for a plea of guilty to the charge.
The Value of Good Representation
Being charged with aggravated assault or battery is a very serious matter. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror (for seven years) and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. A criminal record—even a misdemeanor conviction, and particularly a conviction for a violent felony—can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior assault or battery conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.