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Assault and battery are two terms frequently used together in California courts. They are used in tandem so often that many people believe they are essentially the same thing. However, there are distinctions between assault and battery. It’s actually possible for a person to be accused of assault without any battery being committed. If you are facing California assault charges or are being investigated for committing assault and battery, then you need the help of an experienced, knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense firm.
How Is Assault Defined in California?
The definition of assault is precise. An individual may be guilty of assault if he or she did something that might lead to the use of force against another individual. Additionally, to be charged with assault investigators must find that the defendant’s actions were willful, that he or she knew that their actions could result in the use of force against another individual and that the defendant had the physical ability to apply force to another. Notice that a person can be charged with assault without making physical contact with the other person. In fact, this lack of physical contact is what separates simple assault in California from assault and battery.
What Does Assault and Battery Mean in California?
If law enforcement charges someone with battery, then they will always be charged with assault as well. Typically, assault is committed just prior to an act of battery, which is why battery charges are always paired with assault. In the eyes of the California justice system, there can be no battery without assault occurring. That’s because assault is essentially the intention to use force against someone else while battery is actually using that force.
Battery occurs when there is physical contact between at least two individuals. People often think that battery refers to serious bodily harm, such as a severe beating. However, battery doesn’t necessarily have to involve either pain or an injury. Simply coming into contact with another person in an “offensive” manner is sufficient for being charged with assault and battery. Accordingly, a shove or spitting on someone else may be charged as California assault and battery. If you are being charged with or investigated for assault and battery, then you need a competent Los Angeles criminal defense firm working for you. The District Attorney can be very aggressive when it comes to pursuing these cases, and you’ll need the best legal representation possible to help you salvage your reputation and career.
Aggravated Assault and Battery in Los Angeles
If a defendant is accused of committing aggravated battery, then it means that they are charged with causing serious bodily injury to another person. This serious bodily injury can range from a broken arm to a concussion and everything in between. As long as the injury represents a serious impairment to the alleged victim’s physical condition, it may be classified as serious bodily injury.
Aggravated battery may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California. A person charged at the misdemeanor level may be looking at up to one year in a county jail plus an additional three years of probation. They may also be required to pay a fine and complete community service. Anyone facing felony charges may be sentenced to up to four years in prison. Formal probation may also have to be served. In some cases, a felony conviction will count against the “three strikes” law. California Aggravated assault and battery charges carry serious penalties that can affect you for the rest of your life. It is in your best interests to secure the best legal advice available. Don’t put off contacting an experienced Los Angeles aggravated battery lawyer.
Battery on a Peace Officer
California law makes a distinction between battery on ordinary citizens and battery committed against individuals who are members of certain groups. These individuals may include police officers and other law enforcement personnel, firefighters, paramedics, lifeguards, members of search and rescue teams and probation department employees. If the District Attorney believes that the defendant knew or should have known that the alleged victim was an individual employed in one of these capacities, then they may be eligible for enhanced penalties.
Defenses to Assault and Battery
Things may look bleak when you are charged with assault and battery in Los Angeles, but it’s important to keep in mind that you have not been convicted yet. It’s up to the prosecutor to prove that you intended to harm someone and that you potentially carried through with that intention. Those are things that are not usually easy to prove. For instance, the District Attorney may have difficulty definitively identifying you as the alleged assailant. On the other hand, you may have been acting in self defense or in an attempt to defend someone else. Any of these elements can be used to craft a solid defense for you.
Working With California Assault and Battery Defendants
Your entire future may be at stake if you are facing assault and battery charges. If you are convicted of a felony, you may find that it has an impact on everything you do for the rest of your life. You can’t leave the outcome of these charges up to chance. With the help of the aggressive, dedicated Los Angeles assault and battery lawyers at this firm, it may be possible to have the charges against you reduced or dropped.