Many people believe assault and battery to be interchangeable convictions, but California law classifies them as two separate crimes. An assault means that someone committed an act that made the victim realistically worried about offensive contact. Battery is an unwanted, offensive touching of another person. Battery does not require a person to inflict physical harm on someone else. Assault is attempted battery while battery can be considered a realized assault.
It is possible to convict an individual of both assault and battery. Understanding the difference can help you work with your criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for either or both. Your lawyer will tailor their strategy to the specific charge you are facing.
What Does Battery Refer to?
Filing a battery charge requires there was physical contact between the accused and the victim.
Examples of battery include:
- A push, slap, or a punch
- Hitting someone to the point of pain or injury
- Physical domestic violence
- Rape or other sexual abuse
- Hitting someone with an object
California Penal Code 242 PC classifies battery as a misdemeanor offense, and the law recognizes two degrees of battery: simple and aggravated.
To establish battery, a court has to establish that there was willful and unlawful contact and that the person who did it did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else.
Simple Versus Aggravated Battery in California
Simple battery is a misdemeanor offense that can result in:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Up to six months of county jail time
Aggravated battery is more severe than simple battery and involves the willful use of violence resulting in serious bodily injury. Battery resulting in serious bodily injury maybe charged as a felony and could result in a state prison sentence.
Legal Defense Against Battery Charges
If you have been arrested for battery, you have the right to raise a legal defense to challenge the charges. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you clear your name from the accusation or minimize penalties.
Defense strategies against battery charges can show that you:
- Acted in self-defense
- Did not act with the intent of causing harm
- Did not attempt to use force
- Did not touch the other person
- Were wrongfully arrested or accused
Your lawyer’s thorough understanding of the system ensures that you are given a fair trial and have a chance to accurately defend yourself. Whether your defense attorney helps dismiss or reduce the charges against you, legal representation can make a positive difference in your life.
Contact West Coast Defense today at (800) 922-6989 to schedule a criminal defense consultation in Long Beach or Huntington Beach.