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In this blog we explain what is exactly the crime of battery in law. One of the most common in the country and particularly in California.

If you have been charged with a battery charge, our violent crime lawyers can help. We have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with these types of cases with favorable results.

Call us now to schedule a professional, no-obligation consultation to advise you on your case.


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The Crime Of battery in law In California

Battery is a crime under California Penal Code 242 PC. It is also known as simple aggressionTherefore, state laws punish it as a punishable misdemeanor. 

It consists of the intentional and illegal use of physical force or violence against another person. 

threats and violent assault

California law does not require the victim to have suffered physical pain or injury to recognize it. It is enough that the defendant has violently or offensively touched the victim to be charged.   

However, if the battery in law crime also involves serious injury, you could be charged with an additional crime. Serious Bodily Injury – PC 243(d), is another type of crime related to battery. 

Examples Of Corporal Assault Crimes

An individual can be charged with an assault charge in California in any of these scenarios: 

  • Pushing a person in a bar because they looked at you wrong.
  • Viciously throw a basketball at another person and hitting them in the face. 
  • Spit on the teacher because they got a bad grade on an exam.
  • Throwing a rock at a bicyclist passing in front of a house and causing them to lose their balance or hit them. 

Sanctions For Battery

Battery judged as a simple crime, carries prison sentences and a fine. California Penal Code 242 penalizes you with: 

  • Up to six months in prison in a county jail and/or; 
  • Fine of up to $2,000.
  • Ban on carrying firearms for up to 10 years.
  • Probation period from six months to one year depending on whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Considerations To Take Into Account In Sanctions

  • If the person is charged with a misdemeanor with bodily injury, the punishment can be increased to one year in a county jail. 
  • If you are charged with a felony with bodily injury, the punishment is greater. The crime is punishable by up to 16 months, two years or three years in prison in a state jail. 
  • This crime also has aggravating circumstances when the victim is a public servant. For example, police, firefighter or highway patrol officer, peace officer, custodian, paramedic and so on.

Like the crime of assault, it qualifies as a “wobbler.” So you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Restitution / Compensation

Among the sanctions that the courts usually establish for the crime of battery in law is the restitution of damages. The victim must be compensated for the damages caused by the convicted person. 

A person convicted of misdemeanor battery would have to pay between $150 and $1,000. The value of the compensation will depend on the damage caused to the victim.

If convicted of a felony, the court can order the convicted person to pay between $300 and $10,000. The amount will also depend on the damages to the victim and other aggravating factors. 

battery by breaking a window

Intentional Conduct Required

An important aspect to consider is that to constitute the crime of battery in law, the prosecutor must prove intent. Since it could be an accidental action confused by the victim with a deliberate action.

So there is big room for the criminal defense attorney to make a proper defense.

Of course, the defense cannot claim that the accused did not know that making threats or beating the victim was illegal.

Possible Legal Defenses

As surprising as it sounds, a person can be charged with battery for a simple altercation. The crime does not necessarily require someone to be injured. The prosecutor must prove in court that the defendant:

  • Assaulted another person;
  • Did it intentionally;
  • In a disruptive or offensive way. 

If they don’t, your case cannot proceed in court. In this regard, our expert Los Angeles criminal lawyers can use various defense strategies to dismiss the charges. Here we mention some of them: 

  • The defendant acted in self-defense or came to the defense of another person. They only used the necessary force when seeing his physical integrity in danger.
  • At no time did they act intentionally but rather accidentally.
  • They believed it was his right to reprimand his son for a bad deed. If they are charged with bodily assault and domestic violence.
  • There was consent. The other person tacitly accepted that she could get hurt during the practice of a sport (football, boxing, basketball and others).

What You Can’t Allege In A Defense Against Battery in law

Here are some of the allegations that a criminal defense attorney cannot make in a battery assault trial:

  • There was provocation of the victim to the aggressor. The defendant cannot claim that he violently touched the victim after being provoked. 
  • You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Voluntary intoxication cannot be used as an excuse or defense plea either. 

California law does not excuse aggressive behavior for provocation or for intoxication/drugs. The defendant is legally responsible, because they should know that alcohol or drugs impair judgment.

Unless the defense attorney proves that the person was unintentionally intoxicated. That is, other people forced them to get drunk or take drugs. In that case he would have to be declared innocent of the charges against them.

DUI lawyers in los angeles

You may also be interested in reading our section on DUI lawyers in Los Angeles and the article dedicated to the consequences of being drunk in public in California.

Offenses Related To battery

  • Battery causing serious bodily injury PC 243 (d). Inflicting physical damage on the accused’s spouse or intimate partner. It is considered a serious crime.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon. Use of a weapon (pistol, knife, or object capable of causing fatal injury to another person. 
  • Assault on a public server PC 243 (b) and 243 (c) (2). Involves the attempted aggression against public officials of security, relief, medical assistance, etc.
  • Domestic violence – PC 243 (e) (1). Abuse against a spouse, children, parents or people who live with the accused. It is a wobbler offense that can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor as well.  
  • Sexual assault – PC 243.4. Touching another person’s intimate parts against their will and for “the purpose of sexual excitement, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.” 
  • Elder Abuse – PC 368. Any type of physical or emotional abuse against a senior citizen. Also put her in danger due to negligence or deliberately and exploit her financially.
  • Attempted murder. It is prosecuted as a felony under California Penal Code 664/187 PC. It is classified in attempted first and second degree murder.

Differences Between Assault And Battery

Although these crimes seem synonymous, in reality they are two different crimes.  

  • Battery is the attempt to cause harm to another person. Basically, the victim is threatened with the intention of causing physical harm with words, gestures and actions.
  • Assault is the unlawful use of force or violence against another person. Either by applying brute body force (grabbing, hitting, pushing) or through an object.

What differentiates assault from battery is that physical contact is not required for the first offense. In contrast, battery, it is required, regardless of whether the contact was mild or severe.

crime 242 pc in los angeles

What Is Aggravated Battery In California?

This crime is charged when the person suffers serious bodily injury. It is also considered a wobbler, for which is penalized as a misdemeanor or felony. The judge decides based on the specific facts and criminal record of the defendant.

Some examples of serious bodily injury include:

  • Bone fractures.
  • Open wounds that require suturing.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Contusions and lacerations.
  • Prolonged loss or impairment of a bodily organ or member.
  • Severe disfigurement

If the defendant is convicted of aggravated assault and charged as a felony, it could be considered a strike under the California 3 strikes law.

The penalty for this crime can be up to a year in the county jail, if it is a first offense. But, if the accused has a criminal history, the sanction can be extended to two, three or four years in prison. 

Battery Lawyers In Los Angeles

For more information on this subject, we invite you to contact us. Request a professional consultation with any of our criminal defense attorneys and we will gladly assist you.

If you are an alien and have been accused of any crime related to theftdrugs or criminal violence, call us. We are also certified immigration lawyers in Los Angeles and can represent you to prevent you from being deported.

When we take on a case, we thoroughly investigate it and devise an effective defense strategy. We look for possible errors by the police during the arrest and fight the charges of the prosecutor. 

For more than four decades we have defended hundreds of people accused of assault crimes. The results are obvious with the testimonials of our satisfied customers.   


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