Simple Assault & Battery in Kansas

Assault in Kansas is any intentional act or threat of action, coupled with the apparent ability to carry out the action, that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Threatening to beat someone up, 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.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5412.)

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. Striking another person with a fist during an argument or pushing someone are straightforward examples of simple battery. A more unusual example of battery is grabbing and ripping someone’s clothing in anger. This is considered a touching because the clothing is an extension of the person.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5413.)

This article discusses simple assault and battery in Kansas. For information on aggravated assault and aggravated battery, see Kansas Aggravated Assault and Battery Laws.

Acting Knowingly or Recklessly

Assault requires that a person knowingly places another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate harm. Battery requires that a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily harm to another person, or that a person knowingly causes physical contact with another person in a rude, insulting, or angry manner.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § § 21-5412, 5413.)

In Kansas, a person acts “knowingly” when a person is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause a particular result. For example, if a person shoots a victim in the chest with a powerful handgun, it is reasonably certain that the resulting injury would cause great bodily harm or death.

A person acts “recklessly” when the person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or that a result will follow, and such disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the situation. For example, drag racing on crowded city streets would be viewed as acting recklessly.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5202.)

Domestic Battery

A domestic battery is a battery against a family or household member. A household member includes someone with whom the assailant resides or resided in the past, spouses and former spouses, and someone with whom the assailant has a child.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5414.)

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery consists of touching someone over the age of 16 (who is not the person’s spouse) without consent, for the purpose of sexual arousal or pleasure.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5505.)

Penalties for Assault and Battery in Kansas

Kansas allows the court to impose imprisonment or other forms of penalty such as probation, Community Correctional Services Program, Conservation Camp (supervised living arrangements), house arrest, work release program, and alcohol and drug counseling. The court also can suspend a misdemeanor sentence, which means no sentence is imposed and the defendant is supervised or unsupervised for a period of time, at the court’s discretion, and must comply with conditions set by the court, such as not committing any further crimes and having no further arrests.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § § 21-6602, 6603, 6604.)

Penalties for Simple Assault

Simple assault in Kansas is a Class C misdemeanor unless committed against a law enforcement or school police officer while engaged in the performance of his duties, in which case the crime is a Class A misdemeanor.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5412.)

Penalties for Simple Battery

Sexual battery and battery against a school employee while engaged in the performance of his duties on school property or at a school event are Class A misdemeanors. Domestic battery is a Class B misdemeanor, but penalties increase if the offender has a previous conviction for domestic battery. Battery against a law enforcement officer (includes school police officers and correctional officers) while engaged in the performance of his duties can be a Class A misdemeanor or a severity level 5 or 7 felony, depending on the identity of the officer and whether the battery consisted of intentional injury or merely offensive touching. Battery against a mental health worker also is a severity level 7 felony. Any other battery offense is a Class B misdemeanor.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § § 21-5505, 5413, 5414.)

Misdemeanor Sentences

The possible penalties for a Class C misdemeanor are:

  • up to one month in jail, a fine up to $500, or both
  • probation, and
  • restitution.

The possible penalties for a Class B misdemeanor are:

  • up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1000, or both
  • probation, and
  • restitution.

The possible penalties for a Class A misdemeanor are:

  • up to twelve months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, or both
  • probation, and
  • restitution.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § § 21-6602, 6611.)

Felony Sentences

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 penalty than someone with a clean record.

The Guidelines provide for “presumptive imprisonment” (no probation permitted – defendant must serve the underlying sentence in prison), “presumptive probation” (sentence should be an alternative other than imprisonment),” 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

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6801.)

The possible penalties for severity level 5 and 7 felonies are:

  • Level 5: 31 – 136 months in prison or fine up to $300,000, or both
  • Level 7: 11 – 34 months or $100,000, or both
  • probation for 36 or 24 months, and
  • restitution.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § § 21-6604, 6611, 6804.)

Probation

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.

Restitution

A person convicted of assault or battery in Idaho can be required to pay restitution, which means reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6604.)

Pleas and Pre-Trial Options

If you are facing a charge of 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

A conviction for a misdemeanor or a felony becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, 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.

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.

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