Nick Carter, previously of Backstreet Boys fame, was arrested outside a bar in Florida and charged with misdemeanor battery. According to reports, Carter and a man named Michael Rae Papayans became agitated when they were refused service at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. They were asked to leave by staff, and when they got outside, it’s alleged that Papayans headbutted a bouncer and that Carter grabbed another staff member by the throat.

Both individuals are currently being held at the Monroe County Jail in charges of misdemeanor battery. As of the writing of this article, neither man appears to have hired legal counsel.

In California, battery is covered under Penal Code 242 PC and is described as willfully touching someone else in a harmful or offensive manner. Battery can be misleading, as the word itself implies that one individual hit or beat another person. However, an individual does not necessarily need to be acting violently to be charged with battery; as the law states, they simply need to “touch” someone in a way that’s harmful or offensive. As a matter of fact, an individual doesn’t even need to physically touch another person with their own body to be charged with battery. That being said, it’s possible for an individual to be charged with battery by simply poking another person with a stick, if said poking was deemed to be offensive and/or harmful.

Another confusing aspect of battery is the term “assault and battery,” which is actually two crimes that are so often charged together that people think it’s one offense. The crime of assault is when one individual performs an action against another person that might involve injury, whereas battery is the actual action itself. So, when someone commits “assault and battery,” what they’re actually committing is the crime of performing an action against another person that may involve injury, and then committing the crime of performing an action against someone that is harmful or offensive.

Suffice it to say, here in California, misdemeanor battery carries the possible penalties of up to 6-months in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000. One can only imagine that the penalties for committing the crime in Florida are somewhere along those lines.