California lists battery – also known as simple battery – as a crime that consists of “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence on someone else.” This is a distinction between “assault” which involves the ATTEMPT to inflict violence on another person but not necessarily the completion of battery. As with most legal definitions, simple battery is not as simple as it at first seems and can be a difficult charge to defend against, especially when there is tangible evidence that violence actually was perpetrated by the defendant. It’s vital to have a skilled lawyer on your side before going to court over a charge like this.
Aside from obvious examples of battery, such as beating someone with your fists, there are other instances of battery where the violence wasn’t as violent as that. It can be as simple as touching someone in a way that is offensive. Instances when great bodily harm is done during what would have been a simple battery can lead to a more serious charge called “battery causing bodily injury,” and it’s covered in Penal Code 243(d).
Understanding Battery Laws
In California, Assault and Battery are two distinct crimes, separate from one another. In Penal Code 240, assault is defined. Battery is defined in a separate penal code. Examples of battery would include:
– Throwing a rock at someone and hitting them with it
– Pushing someone
– Spitting on someone
All of these instances would have varying degree of results. Someone who pushes someone might inevitably cause them great bodily harm, but someone who spits on someone more than likely has just committed an extremely offensive gesture that disgusts the average person. BOTH would be considered battery, albeit with different results. In the eyes of the law, both are battery, though.
Penal Code 242 lays out battery as a misdemeanor under California law. And although the penalties for battery are less severe than they are for a felony, they are very unpleasant nevertheless: Up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Given the serious financial consequences of a conviction and the awful prospect of having to do jail time, hiring a lawyer is, as always, your best defense against a battery charge.
And if you’re looking at a special kind of battery charge – one that involves a firefighter, EMT, or police officer – there is the potential for your charge to be a felony, and your consequences for this kind of charge will become much more severe.
Defenses for Battery
A good legal team can successfully defend a battery charge and cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of events. In a worst case scenario where the defendant is guilty, they can negotiate with the court for a plea bargain or alternatives to a jail sentence. They can also work on reducing the fine, if the defendant has financial troubles. The many defenses for a battery charge include:
– Acting within reasonable right to discipline children (as many battery charges are leveled against well-meaning parents)
– You were not acting willfully during the battery
As you can see, even in a worse case scenario where some type of altercation did occur, a good defense team can quickly go to work on your behalf and help defend you against these serious charges. A defendant trying to explain their actions to the court will NEVER be as powerful as the eloquent, knowledgeable argument of a defense lawyer that knows the law very well and has faith in his client’s innocence or ability to re-enter society during a probationary period. When your lawyer speaks for you, it helps your case. Sometimes speaking for yourself or accepting a plea bargain before talking to a lawyer can be your worst mistake in this kind of case.
Contact a lawyer today
If you’ve been charged with battery in California, there’s plenty of hope in the legal offices of a defense attorney. They can’t help you unless you call them, though. Before entering a plea or facing your problem alone, call for a free consultation with a knowledgeable, compassionate attorney.