California Penal Code Section 242 outlines the crime of battery as “any intentional and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
The following elements must be established in order to prove a charge of battery:
- Defendant willfully and illegally touched another person in offensive or a harmful way (for example, grabbing another person’s arm in anger or touching the private parts of another person would be considered battery);
- Defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else
Battery is often discussed in connection with the criminal offense of assault. Although battery and assault are considered two completely different offenses.
California Assault Penal Code 240
Assault is described in Penal Code Section 240 as an action that may impose physical harm or unwanted touching on someone else. While, on the other hand, pursuant to Penal Code 242 battery is the actual infliction of force or violence on someone else.
Assault Actual Physical Contact Not Necessary
In case of assault any actual physical contact is not necessarily to be present, whereas a battery cannot be accomplished without a touching of the victim. Person can be charged with battery even if no injury or pain is caused to the victim. The slightest touch is enough for a battery charge if it is done in an annoying, disrespectful or rude manner.
Defenses to California Criminal Battery Charge
You acted in self-defense or defense of another person: You cannot be convicted of battery in case you reasonably thought that you or someone else was in danger of bodily injury or death and you reasonably used force to defend against that danger.
You did not act willfully or intentionally when committing the harmful touching: You cannot be found guilty of the offense, if the battery was the result of an accident or the outcome of events.
Penal Code 242 Battery Penalties
Under California Penal Code section 242 simple battery is prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
The potential penalties for a criminal battery conviction include:
- Up to six (6) months in county jail; and/or;
- A fine of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000)
Battery and Related Offenses
Battery causing serious bodily injury under Penal Code Section 243(d)
A defendant can be charged under California Penal Code section 243(d) if the victim of a battery suffers serious bodily injury. Battery under this section is also known as “aggravated battery.” A serious bodily injury is any serious impairment of physical condition. Aggravated battery in California law is considered a wobbler and it may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the specific circumstances of criminal offense.
If convicted of a misdemeanor charge for this offense you can face up to one year in a California county jail. If it is charged as a felony you can face two, three, or four years in a California state prison.
Domestic Battery Under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1)
In case the victim of a battery is a family or household member you can be charged with domestic battery. Under Penal Code section 243(e)(1) you are considered guilty of domestic battery if alleged victim is a: current or former spouse; current or former boyfriend, cohabitant or former cohabitant, the parent of your child, a person with whom you have or used to have a dating relationship.
- Current or former boyfriend, cohabitant or former cohabitant;
- The parent of your child;
- A person with whom you have or used to have a dating relationship.
Domestic battery is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in a California county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
According to California Penal Code Section 187 the defendant faces 25-years-to-life in the California State Prison for a first-degree murder. In case the conviction is based on a “hate crime,” the defendant faces life in prison without any possibility of parole or early release. Factors that can lead to a conviction for a hate crime murder include the victim’s race, sexual orientation, disability, or nationality.
Get Help Defending Criminal Battery Charges from an Experienced Lawyer
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