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John Razumich

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Assault, Battery, and Revenge

From Queen Boudicca to Genghis Khan to Aaron Burr, history abounds with famous acts of violence spurred by vengeance. Of course, plenty of revenge happens nowadays, too. Let’s look at what happens from a legal standpoint when revenge is a factor in situations of assault and battery.

Is the Desire for Revenge Normal?

Have you ever wanted someone to pay for the hurt they’ve caused you, or someone you love, or for an injustice directed at the world at large? Have you ever felt guilty for that desire? If so, it’s time to put your mind at ease. It turns out that the desire to seek revenge is not only a natural human impulse but one that activates the same reward centers in the brain as drugs or chocolate, leading to a surge in the feel-good chemical dopamine. (No wonder they say “revenge is sweet”!)

Of course, the operative word in that sentence above is desire. Just because we want to get vengeance on someone we think has wronged us doesn’t mean acting on that impulse is a good idea.

When Does Revenge Factor In?

Behind every vengeful thought is a strong emotion-anger. It’s no surprise, therefore, that revenge and violence are so often associated with one another. That also means a lot of violent crimes, including assault and battery, are due to a desire to see another person pay for their actions.

Scenarios in which revenge may be a causal factor include:

  • A parent whose child has been bullied or attacked by a peer (or molested or otherwise hurt by an adult)
  • An investor who has been swindled or cheated, resulting in economic loss
  • A spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend who has discovered their partner is cheating
  • A would-be lover whose advances have been spurned
  • A drug dealer who thinks they’ve been ƒnarced on” or who has gotten the short end of the stick in a turf war
  • A disgruntled employee, hurt and angry about being passed over for a promotion or unfairly terminated

Another common situation where revenge can become harmful, even fatal, is when an abuser finds out that their partner has tried to leave or taken out a restraining order against them.

Is Revenge a Mitigating Factor?

This is a complicated question, and there’s no clear answer. In a strictly emotional or practical sense, revenge is often to blame for a case of assault and battery (or an attempt thereof). Legally, it’s a different matter. Sometimes defense attorneys can sway a jury by setting up a revenge-based motive for their client.

However, being wronged isn’t an “excuse” for any criminal behavior. A defendant cannot plead “innocent by reason of the victim really deserving it.”

Regretting Your Act of Revenge?

No matter how natural the impulse to get back at someone who has hurt you may be, an assault and battery charge is serious business. In the eyes of the law, revenge won’t fly as a good reason for violence. If you need help because your emotional impulses got the best of you, contact Razumich & Associates. We can look at your case, factor in all the elements, and design a defense that’s right for you. Call us today: 317-983-5333.

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