Kansas Battery and Aggravated Battery Laws

Learn what it means to face battery or aggravated battery charges in Kansas.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated April 11, 2024

A battery crime involves offensive contact with an individual. No harm or injuries are required but can mean harsher penalties. Learn how Kansas defines and punishes battery and aggravated battery crimes.

For more information on domestic battery, check out Kansas Domestic Violence Laws.

What Is a Battery Offense in Kansas?

A person can commit battery in Kansas by:

  • knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another, or
  • knowingly causing offensive contact with another.

Bodily harm includes slight, minor, or moderate injuries. Some examples include bruises, physical pain, scratches, cuts, and sprains.

Causing bodily harm. Examples of the first type of battery (causing bodily harm) can include intentionally shoving, kicking, or hitting someone. It can also include conduct that causes pain even if no injuries are visible, such as hair pulling or forcefully grabbing someone's arm. Reckless conduct counts as well. So someone who recklessly throws a beer bottle on the ground, resulting in glass shattering and cutting a person nearby, has committed battery.

Causing offensive contact. Offensive contact is any physical contact done in a rude, insulting, or angry manner. For instance, rudely grabbing someone's buttocks or poking someone in an insulting manner are forms of battery.

(Kan. Stat. § 21-5413 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Battery in Kansas?

Battery offenses in Kansas range from a class B misdemeanor to a level 5 felony.

Misdemeanor Battery

Battery offenses start as class B person misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A battery becomes a class A person misdemeanor if the defendant targets a school employee (K-12) or healthcare provider engaged in their duties.

Battery involving offensive contact with any of the following professionals engaged in their duties is also a class A misdemeanor:

  • law enforcement officer or university or campus police
  • judge or court services officer
  • government attorneys (prosecutors or public defenders), or
  • community corrections officers.

Class A misdemeanors carry the possibility of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Felony Battery

Battery increases to a felony-level offense if a person causes bodily harm to any of the professionals listed above or a mental health employee working for the state aging and disability services. This offense is a level 7 felony battery, punishable by one to three years of prison time.

Anyone being held in a correctional or juvenile detention facility who commits any type of battery against a facility officer or employee also faces a felony. A conviction carries a level 5 felony penalty of 2½ to 10½ years of prison time.

What Is Aggravated Battery in Kansas?

Battery offenses become more serious when the level of harm or risk of harm increases. Kansas refers to these offenses as aggravated battery.

Aggravated Battery

A person commits aggravated battery by knowingly or recklessly:

  • causing another great bodily harm or disfigurement
  • causing bodily harm to another with a deadly weapon, or
  • causing bodily harm to another in a manner that risks great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death.

Offensive contact can also result in aggravated battery charges if the person used a deadly weapon or engaged in any conduct that risked great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death.

Defining Great Bodily Harm and Deadly Weapons

Great bodily harm isn't defined in law. Courts explain that great bodily is more than minor or moderate harm. Some examples found in court cases include stabbing, gunshot, and bite wounds, broken bones or fractures, burns, and scarring. Choking someone to the point of blacking out was also considered great bodily harm.

Deadly weapons can include weapons designed to cause harm, such as knives, brass knuckles, and firearms. It can also be instruments used in a dangerous or deadly manner, such as a baseball bat or crowbar. In one case, the court found that a defendant's Doberman pinchers were deadly weapons when commanded to attack.

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Battery in Kansas?

Aggravated battery is a felony in Kansas. Penalties range from a level 3 to 8 person felony and depend on the conduct involved, the harm caused, and the person targeted.

Penalties for Aggravated Battery Involving Reckless Conduct

A person charged with aggravated battery involving reckless conduct faces:

  • a level 8 felony if bodily harm resulted, or
  • a level 5 felony if great bodily harm resulted.

A level 8 felony carries 7 months to 2 years of possible prison time. Level 5 felonies can involve up to 10 ½ years of incarceration.

Penalties for Aggravated Battery Involving Knowing Conduct

The above penalties bump up a level for aggravated battery involving knowing conduct. However, if the person commits aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer or other criminal justice professional, the potential charges increase to a level 3 or 4 felony.

A person charged with aggravated battery involving knowing conduct faces:

  • a level 7 felony if offensive contact or bodily harm resulted
  • a level 4 felony if great bodily harm resulted
  • a level 4 felony if bodily harm resulted to a law enforcement officer, university or campus police officer, judge, government attorney, community corrections officer, or court services officer
  • a level 3 felony if any of the above professionals suffered great bodily harm
  • a level 3 felony if any of the above professionals suffered bodily harm and the defendant used a motor vehicle to cause the harm.

A person convicted of a level 7 felony faces up to 3 years in prison. For a level 3 or 4 felony, the possible prison time increases significantly with maximum sentences of 14 and 20 years.

Penalties for Aggravated Battery Involving a DUI

Kansas includes DUIs resulting in bodily harm as a form of aggravated battery.

A DUI that results in another person suffering bodily harm carries level 8 felony penalties. When a DUI results in great bodily harm, the penalties increase to a level 4 or 5 felony. Level 4 felony penalties apply when the impaired person drove with a suspended or revoked license.

A level 8 felony carries up to 2 years in prison. Level 5 felonies can mean up to 10½ years in prison, and level 4 felonies can mean 14 years of prison time.

Defending Against Battery Charges in Kansas

Defendants charged with battery might try to fight the charges by raising a defense or challenging the prosecution's case.

Self-defense. A defendant might claim self-defense or defense of others if the alleged victim started the altercation or was about to. To be successful, the defendant can only use as much force as is reasonably necessary to defend against the impending harm. (Kan. Stat. § 21-5222 (2024).)

Reasonable doubt. The defense might also try to poke holes in the prosecution's case by arguing the prosecution failed to prove the required intent or harm. A defendant might also challenge that increased penalties should not apply because the victim couldn't be identified as an officer or another criminal justice professional. If successful, the defense might be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you're facing charges of battery or aggravated battery, talk to a criminal defense attorney. On top of possible time behind bars, having a battery conviction on your record can impact your future ability to secure a job or housing.

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