In most cases, the terms “assault & battery” are often used together, and many people have a difficult time explaining the difference between the two. In California, these crimes are considered separate. You can be charged with assault or you can be charged with battery. It’s important to understand the exact nature of the crime you are facing and get an experienced attorney to walk you through your options.
At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., our attorney has handled thousands of cases and is passionate about fighting for the best outcome on each client’s behalf. For client convenience, our firm is available 24/7.
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Definition of Assault
According to Penal Code Section 240, the State of California defines assault as the attempt to use force or violence on someone else.
For example, at a bar, a man might make a remark to a woman. The woman finds the comment offensive and throws the glass and her drink at the man. The man ducks out of the way and is not injured; however, charges of assault can be brought.
Penalties for Assault
In most cases, simple assault as defined by Penal Code Section 240 is considered a misdemeanor charge. The penalties include maximum fines of up to $1,000 and/or a maximum of six months in county jail.
To be convicted of assault, the prosecution must prove several things:
- That the defendant acted in a way that would have probably resulted in force against another
- That the defendant acted willingly
- That the defendant was aware that this act would probably result in force against another
- That the defendant was capable of applying force to another when he or she acted
Definition of Battery
According to Penal Code Section 242, the State of California defines battery as the act of willfully and unlawfully using force or violence against another person.
For example, a restaurant patron may be making ridiculous demands of the waiter and growing increasingly frustrating and offensive as the night goes on. The waiter eventually retaliates by spitting on the patron. This act comes under the definition of battery.
Penalties for Battery
In most cases, simple battery, as defined by California Penal Code 242 PC is considered a misdemeanor charge. The penalties include maximum fines of $2,000 and a maximum of six months in county jail.
To be convicted of battery, the prosecution must prove the following:
- That the defendant touched another person
- That the defendant willfully touched another person
- That the defendant willfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner
You will notice that injury does not have to be proven in order to be faced with these charges. In fact, the slightest touch can be considered battery even if it was indirect (using another object).
Penalties for a “Wobbler”: Penal Code 245(a)(1)
Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines the crime of assault with a deadly weapon, or the crime of assault with a level of force involved that would likely produce serious physical injury. The penalties for this crime can vary according to the circumstances of the case, and the case can be charged and punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Factors such as the following will determine whether your case is a misdemeanor or a felony:
- What type of weapon or instrument was involved in committing the alleged assault
- Whether the alleged victim sustained an injury
- How severe the injury that the alleged victim sustained was
- Whether the alleged victim was a protected person such as law enforcement or firefighter
A misdemeanor conviction may result in a maximum of one year in county jail whereas a felony conviction could result in up to four years in state prison. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may grant probation instead of time in state prison.
Defenses to Charges of Battery & Assault
Charges of battery or assault, though serious, are not without defense. With a skilled Santa Rosa assault and battery lawyer, you can examine the circumstances surrounding your case and fight to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Common defenses to charges of battery or assault include:
- You were actually incapable of inflicting force or violence on another
- You were acting in self-defense or in the defense of another
- You were not acting willfully
- You were wrongfully accused
Free Case Evaluation with a Santa Rosa Assault & Battery Lawyer!
To learn more about your case, get in touch with an experienced Santa Rosa assault and battery attorney from the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. Our attorney is backed by years of experience and has garnered many awards for his commitment to excellence, communication, and ethical service.
Call (707) 418-5352 to learn more about your legal options!
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