Assault in Idaho is an attempt to cause physical injury to another person – for instance, attempting to strike someone with a hand or object, and missing. Assault also is any intentional act or threat of action that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Threatening to beat up someone or to "knock you senseless," when said in a menacing or angry manner, is assault if it appears that the assailant has the ability to carry out the threat and the victim believes or could reasonably believe that he is about to be struck or injured.
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-901.)
Battery in Idaho is actual offensive physical contact, such as punching another 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. Either the act or the infliction of injury must be intentional.
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-903.)
This article discusses aggravated assault and aggravated battery laws in Idaho. For more information on simple assault and battery, see Idaho Assault and Battery Laws. For more information on assault with a deadly weapon, see Idaho Assault & Battery with Intent to Commit a Serious Felony.
An aggravated assault is a felony in Idaho and is an assault that is committed:
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-905.)
Aggravated battery is also a felony in Idaho. A battery is an aggravated battery if the offender causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim, or if committed:
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-907.)
An object or substance that is inherently deadly or dangerous, such as a firearm, knife, or bleach or other dangerous poison, is a deadly weapon. An assault in which a firearm is used is an aggravated assault even if the weapon is not loaded or cannot be fired.
An object that is not inherently dangerous but that can be used as a deadly weapon also constitutes a deadly weapon if the offender intended to use it as a weapon. If a boot is heavy and steel-toed, for example, and the person wearing the boots kicks or threatens to kick someone in anger, the action could be charged as a battery or an assault with a deadly weapon because the offender used the boots in a manner (kicking) that could ultimately kill the victim. Under Idaho law, hands or other body parts, though arguably capable of being used in a deadly manner, are not deadly weapons.
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-905.)
Great bodily harm is any harm more severe than minor or slight harm, such as minor bruises, and could include wounds that bleed profusely or require suturing, broken bones, and injuries requiring surgery.
Permanent disability is an injury that leaves a person permanently unable to function in a normal manner. A permanent limp, chronic back pain that limits a person’s activities, and permanent impairment of someone’s ability to speak, write, or perform intellectual or physical tasks are permanent disabilities.
Permanent disfigurement refers to an alteration of the physical body such as a visible scar on someone’s face or other body part, loss of a limb, or a broken bone that alters one’s physical appearance, such as a broken nose or a finger that is no longer straight.
A person convicted of an aggravated assault faces the following penalties:
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-906.)
The penalties for aggravated battery are:
(Idaho Code Ann. § 18-908.)
Someone who commits an aggravated assault or battery against certain victims, if the offender knew or had reason to know of the victim’s employment status, is subject to additional penalties or double the normal penalties for assault or battery. These victims include but are not limited to a judge, police officer, district attorney, public defender, firefighter, Department of Health and Welfare caseworker or social worker, or emergency medical services personnel.
(Idaho Code Ann. § § 18-915, 18-915C.)
For more information on assault and domestic violence, see Idaho Domestic Violence Laws.
The court can impose probation instead of prison time for the entire sentence for aggravated assault or battery, or after the defendant has spent some time in prison. For instance, a judge in an aggravated battery case can sentence a defendant to five years in prison to be followed by a period of time on probation.
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 prison.
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.
(Idaho Code Ann. § 19-5304.)
If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault or battery in Idaho, you should consider hiring an attorney who 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.
A felony conviction will seriously affect your life. 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. If a felon is convicted later of another crime, his felony record can subject him to a harsher sentence in the new case. A felony conviction—and particularly a conviction for a violent crime—also 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.