Idaho Laws on Battery and Aggravated Battery

A conviction for battery or aggravated battery can mean prison time.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated 4/05/2024

Idaho punishes battery based on the level of harm inflicted, the victim targeted, or whether a weapon was used. Read on to learn the various penalties for battery offenses in Idaho.

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

What Is Considered Battery in Idaho?

A person commits battery by:

  • willfully using force or violence against another
  • intentionally and unlawfully touching or striking another person against their will, or
  • intentionally and unlawfully causing bodily harm to another.

Bodily harm isn't defined in law but generally includes bruises, pain, sprains, or minor cuts or lacerations.

Examples of battery might include shoving someone, pulling their hair, hitting or kicking another, or forcefully grabbing someone's arm.

(Idaho Code § 18-903 (2024).)

What Is Aggravated Battery in Idaho?

Aggravated battery charges come into play when a person inflicts great bodily harm or uses something dangerous or deadly when committing the battery.

The law makes battery an aggravated offense when the defendant:

  • causes great bodily harm to, or inflicts a permanent disability or disfigurement on, a victim (including a fetus)
  • uses a deadly weapon or instrument, or
  • uses a corrosive acid, caustic chemical, or poison.

Examples of aggravated battery might include shooting someone, hitting someone with a baseball bat, lacing another's food with rat poison, breaking someone's arm, or cutting someone on their face and causing permanent scarring.

Great bodily harm. The law doesn't define what constitutes great bodily harm. Court cases only note that these injuries are more serious than "bodily harm." It's generally up to the jury to decide what counts as great bodily harm. Some possible examples are listed above (broken bones, gunshot wounds, serious lacerations).

Deadly weapons and instruments can include items designed as weapons, such as guns, knives, brass knuckles, or bully sticks. It can also include other types of items that are used in a deadly manner, such as steel-toed boots, a baseball bat, a sock weighted with rocks, or a crowbar.

(Idaho Code § 18-907 (2024.)

What Are the Penalties for Battery and Aggravated Battery in Idaho?

Battery crimes carry penalties that range from a misdemeanor to a 30-year felony, depending on the conduct involved and the victim targeted.

Battery Penalties

A person faces up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 for a misdemeanor battery offense. The potential jail sentence increases to a year if the victim is pregnant (and the defendant knew that).

Idaho law imposes felony penalties for committing battery involving force or harm when the defendant targets certain victims because of, or while they're performing, their official duties.

  • When the victim is a health care provider or employee, a conviction means up to 3 years of prison time.
  • When the victim is a judge, magistrate, jailer, correctional officer, detention officer, or probation officer, the penalty carries up to a 5-year prison sentence. A defendant who's already serving a sentence when the battery takes place must serve the battery sentence after the original one is complete.

The law also imposes a 5-year prison sentence if an inmate or pretrial detainee throws bodily fluid or waste at any employee, contractor, or visitor of a detention or correctional center.

(Idaho Code §§ 18-904, 18-915, 18-915B, 18-915C (2024).)

Aggravated Battery Penalties

A person convicted of aggravated battery faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

Similar to battery, targeting certain protected employees will result in harsher penalties. For aggravated battery, the penalties double—meaning a person can face up to 30 years in prison. The list of protected employees includes judges, magistrates, jailers, correctional employees, probation officers, prosecutors, public defenders, police officers, bailiffs, EMS dispatchers, water resources and parks and rec officers, and public utility employees.

(Idaho Code §§ 18-908, 18-915c (2024).)

Penalties for Battery With Intent to Commit a Serious Felony

A defendant who commits battery intending to commit murder, rape, mayhem, robbery, or lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor child faces up to 20 years of prison time. The law adds another five years if the defendant targeted one of the professionals listed above (see Aggravated Battery Penalties).

(Idaho Code §§ 18-911, 18-912, 18-915C (2024).)

Enhanced Penalties for Repeat or Violent Battery Offenses in Idaho

Idaho law imposes harsh penalties when a defendant brandished a weapon or firearm in a battery crime or is a repeat felony offender.

Extended Sentence for Use of a Firearm or Deadly Weapon

A defendant who displayed, used, or threatened to use a firearm or deadly weapon will face an extended sentence. The law tacks on an additional 15 years to the maximum sentence allowed for aggravated battery or battery with intent to commit a serious felony.

(Idaho Code § 19-2520 (2024).)

Repeat Felony Offender

Idaho allows a judge to impose up to a life sentence for a third felony conviction (for any felony). This three-strikes law ("persistent violators") also imposes a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 years.

(Idaho Code § 19-2514 (2024).)

Defending Against Battery Charges in Idaho

Defendants charged with battery may try to raise a defense to the charges or challenge 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 prevent the threatened injuries.

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 injuries. In this case, the defense might be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced.

(Idaho Code §§ 19-202, 19-202A (2024).)

Getting Legal Help

If you're facing battery charges in Idaho, contact a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help explain the charges, protect your rights, and defend your case.

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