Battery (Penal Code § 242 and Penal Code § 243)

Battery is essentially the crime of intentionally hitting another person in some way. While people often think of hitting another person as an assault, in legal terms the crime is battery.

There are many behaviors and actions that can be classified as a battery, but any battery must involve physical contact with another person's body, clothes or even an "attachment" to their body such as an object in their hand. The physical contact can be done with a part of the defendant's own body (like a fist) or with an object controlled by the defendant. In all cases, the contact must be made on purpose.

If you or someone you care about is facing a battery charge, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help explain the charges and properly defend against them. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555.

Misdemeanor Battery vs. Felony Battery

Battery is a "wobbler" and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the existence and extent of any injuries to the alleged victim. 

Misdemeanor battery or "simple battery" is generally charged when the alleged victim does not suffer serious bodily injuries (note - battery on certain specified public employees such as peace officers may be charged as a felony even where there is no "serious" injury). 

Felony battery or "aggravated battery" is generally charged when the alleged victim suffers "serious" bodily injuries.  Felony battery is considered a "violent felony" and may be charged as a "strike" under California's three strikes law.

Misdemeanor Battery (Simple Battery - Penal Code § 242)

The prosecution must prove the following facts to convict a defendant of misdemeanor battery:

  • Intent – the defendant intended to make physical contact with the victim
  • Physical Contact – the defendant made actual physical contact with the victim, the victim's clothes, or something attached to the victim such as something in the victim's hand
  • Violent, Painful or Offensive Contact – in addition to violent or painful contact, non-violent contact that is nonetheless offensive to the victim can be charged as battery
  • No Consent - the victim did not somehow agree to the physical contact

Misdemeanor battery can be punished as follows, but any punishment will depend on the facts of a particular case:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Probation
  • Caltrans or community service
  • Completion of a batterer's class

Potential defenses to a misdemeanor battery charge will depend on the facts of the case, but may include:

  • Self Defense
  • Defense of Another Person

  • Accidental Touching (no intent)

Felony Battery (Aggravated Battery - Penal Code § 243)

The primary difference between felony battery and misdemeanor battery is that felony battery requires that the victim suffered "serious" injuries.  Felony battery is classified as a "violent felony" and may be charged as a "strike" under California's Three Strikes Law.

The prosecution must prove the following facts to convict a defendant of felony battery:

  • Intent – the defendant intended to make physical contact with the victim
  • Physical Contact – the defendant made actual physical contact with the victim, the victim's clothes, or something attached to the victim such as something in the victim's hand
  • Contact was Violent, Painful or Offensive – in addition to violent or painful contact, non-violent contact that is nonetheless offensive to the victim can be charged as battery
  • No Consent - the victim did not somehow agree to the physical contact
  • "Serious Bodily Injury" – the contact resulted in serious bodily injury, based on the facts of the case, including injuries such as a broken bone, a concussion, or an open wound

Felony battery can be punished as follows, but any punishment will depend on the facts of a particular case:

  • Formal probation
  • Up to one year in county jail or two, three or four years in state prison
  • A "strike" under California's Three Strikes Law

Potential defenses to a felony battery charge will depend on the facts of the case, but may include:

  • Self Defense
  • Defense of Another Person
  • Accidental Touching (no intent)
  • No "Serious Bodily Injury" Occurred

Contact Us

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal investigation or criminal charges of any type, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555, or through the confidential and secure email form on the firm's website at www.VWattorneys.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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