What constitutes assault and battery in California?

The first thing it's important to say is that assault and battery are actually two separate offences under California law. Assault is defined as an attempt to use violence or force against someone, and is dealt with under penal code 240. Battery, which most people probably think of as assault, is the actual use of violence or force against another person, as defined in California penal code 242.

You can see that when we think about assault and battery, in California, it's probably battery that we are imagining. In this article, we are going to look at when you could possibly be charged with battery. We are also going to consider the possible consequences.

When could you be charged with battery?

You may be thinking that battery sounds like an offense where someone is seriously hurt. In fact, you only need to have touched someone to be charged with battery. You can simply push someone during a disagreement and you could be charged; no-one needs to have been hurt. This is a shock to many people who imagine battery as someone being badly beaten.

What are the consequences of a battery charge?

If you are charged with an offense, it's a good idea to get the advice and support you need from an Orange County Criminal Attorney. Battery is most often classed as a misdemeanour in California law.

However, there is an exception to this. If you are ever charged with battery against a public servant, such as a police office or EMT, this is classed as a charge of battery on a peace officer, which is dealt with under penal code 243. This is regarded as a "wobbler" offense, which means it can be treated as a misdemeanour or a felony.

Generally, a conviction for battery will result in a fine of up to $2,000, and up to six months in county jail. There are some defenses that are often used by people facing a battery charge.

Using a defense against a charge of battery

If you are facing a charge of battery, there are certain defenses you may want to think about using. These defenses include:

You acted in self defense. You need to be able to show that you had reason to believe you were in danger from the person the battery charge relates to. You also need to show that you used only a necessary amount of force.

You did not act in a wilful manner. This does not mean that you did not intend to hurt someone as you do not have to intend to do so, to be charged with battery. It means that you touched or hit the person by accident.

You were disciplining your child in a reasonable manner. You need to be able to show that the discipline was indeed reasonable, and not in excess of what was necessary.

All of these defenses could be used in a battery case.

Hopefully, you can now see what the charge of battery actually is, and why it's completely separate from the charge of assault.

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