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California Battery Laws

Although assault and battery are used interchangeable in some states, they are two separate criminal offenses in California. While assault is defined as an attempt to use force or violence on someone else, battery is the actual act of willfully and unlawfully using force or violence against another person.

The following are the different types of battery offenses in California:

  • Simple battery – As mentioned above, simple battery is defined as a willful and unlawful use of force or violence against someone else or physically touching another individual in an offensive manner – without causing serious bodily injury. This offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum six-month jail term and/or a fine of no more than $2,000.
  • Battery causing serious injury – If you commit battery and the alleged victim sustains a serious injury, such as a concussion, fractured or broken bones, or a long-term or permanent disability, you could be charged with “aggravated battery,” which is a wobbler offense. Misdemeanor aggravated battery is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $2,000, while felony aggravated battery carries a maximum prison term of up to four years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Domestic battery – Battery against a loved one is considered “domestic battery,” which is a misdemeanor that carries a jail term of up to one year and/or maximum fine of $2,000.
  • Elder abuse – Battery against a person who is 65 years of age or older is known as “elder abuse,” which is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $6,000. However, if the elderly person suffers a serious injury, then elder abuse is a felony, punishable by
  • Battery on a peace officer – Battery against specific workers in the middle of performing their duties is considered “battery on a peace officer.” Common types of workers include police officers, firefighters, security personnel, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and lifeguards. Battery on a peace officer is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail term of one year and/or a maximum fine of $2,000. However, if the offense results in a serious injury, then it is considered a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • Sexual battery – Sexual battery means non-consensual touching of someone else’s “intimate body part” for the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification. This offense is also a wobbler. Misdemeanor sexual battery is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $2,000, while felony sexual battery carries a maximum prison term of four years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

A conviction for any type of battery carries harsh penalties, including a jail or prison sentence, fines worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, and even a criminal record that can cause irreparable damage to your personal life and professional reputation. If you are facing battery charges in California, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and freedom.

If you have been arrested for battery in Santa Rosa, CA, call the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. at (707) 418-5352 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free case evaluation. Our firm has successfully represented thousands of clients!