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How Are Assault & Battery Defined Under California State Law?



Under California state law, assault and battery are two different crimes. Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of another. For example, striking someone or touching someone’s private area could be considered battery. There are a number of scenarios that could result in a charge of battery under California law. Assault does not require physical contact to have occurred. For example, if a person lunged at another individual as if to hit them, then they could be charged with assault.

In some cases, assault and battery are charged together, but in most cases, any physical contact between people will result in a charge of battery, rather than battery and assault. Self-defense is a defense that can be used in cases where someone is being charged with battery.

For example, pushing someone away as a means of self-defense would not be considered unlawful battery, but a justifiable act of self-defense. If it can be proven that a person was acting in self-defense, then the prosecutors will likely dismiss the case.

I Was Charged With Assault In An Incident Where The Alleged Victim Claims To Have Suffered Head Trauma. How Will This Impact My Case?

Criminal cases that involve injury or great bodily harm are more serious in nature than those that don’t. If someone suffered a concussion during an incident, a charge of battery would result. If someone has suffered a great bodily injury, then the case could be enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony. Any person who unlawfully inflicts great bodily injury on another person will be facing a three-year enhancement of their punishment. Felony batteries that involve serious injury could subject a person to anywhere from 16 months to three years in prison. The extent of the injury has a huge impact on a defendant’s charge and sentence. Anyone who is dealing with such a charge should obtain an attorney who has handled these cases before, and knows how to differentiate between a simple battery, a battery that causes serious injury, and a battery that causes great bodily injury.

I Lightly Pushed Someone And They Tripped And Fell On Their Head. Can I Be Charged With Assault?

If someone pushed another person and caused them to trip and fall on their head, then they could be charged with battery and assault. The concept of foreseeability comes up often when dealing with battery and assault charges, and it refers to the foreseeability of the injuries or consequences that follow from an action. For example, it is foreseeable that aggressively pushing someone could result in them tripping, falling, and hitting their head to the point that they pass away. However, if a person pushed someone, and that caused the person to run into the street for no reason and they were hit by a car as a result, then that would not be considered a foreseeable event.

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Call For A Free Strategy Session
(213) 374-3952

Will I Be Going To Jail On A First-Time Battery Offense?

A first-offense simple battery under Penal Code Section 242 in Los Angeles generally will not result in jail time. In fact, under the right circusmtances, diversion will be an option. Jail sentences are reserved for people who have criminal records and continue to commit crimes, or who batter someone so severely that it rises to the level of a serious injury or great bodily injury. A simple battery, such as a push, slap, or punch that doesn’t cause much damage will not likely result in jail time. Occasionally, these types of cases won’t even be filed by prosecutors.

I Was Accused Of Shoving Someone In A Crowded Bar. She Claims She Was Assaulted. Is That The Case?

Many people have a difficult time understanding how they can be charged with assault when the other party is only claiming that an assault occurred, and does not have hard evidence to show for it. However, a person’s testimony itself is a form of evidence. While there are other types of evidence, such as medical records, photographs, and witness testimony, this type of evidence is not necessary in order to convict someone of assault. If someone’s testimony is believable enough, a jury could very well convict and punish the defendant. With that said, defendants are entitled to give their own statement to the jury and bring forth evidence that applies to the case (e.g. eye witnesses, physical evidence, video footage). Ultimately, it will come down to who the jury believes.

I Was Arrested In North Hollywood For Assault. In Doing Research I See That I Had To Have Acted Willfully. What Does That Even Mean?

To say that someone had to have acted willfully means that they had to have committed the act with intent to commit a particular crime. For example, if someone was pushed by another person and they fell on top of someone as a result of being pushed, then any injury suffered by the person they fell on would not be their fault since they had no intention of causing harm.

Does A Parent Have A Right To Physically Discipline Their Child In Los Angeles County?

Parents can use reasonable force to discipline their children, but this is a slippery slope, since reasonable force can cause visible injuries, and since teachers and doctors have a duty to report suspected abuse or improper discipline. If reported, the authorities could reasonably construe a parent’s conduct as unreasonable and they could end up being prosecuted for corporal punishment against their child, child endangerment, and a host of other charges. Parents need to be careful when punishing their children. If a parent finds themselves on the wrong end of a criminal prosecution related to their child, then they should obtain an attorney prior to speaking to the authorities.

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Call For A Free Strategy Session
(213) 374-3952

My Child Is Being Charged With Assault For Spitting On Another Child. Is That Possible?

Spitting on a person is an unlawful and offensive act that could result in a charge of assault and/or battery. Police officers book people all the time for spitting on them, and the prosecutors obviously don’t like this. It’s very disrespectful to spit on another person, and bacteria and/or diseases can be transmissible through saliva. If a child is being charged with assault or battery for spitting on another person, their parent should obtain an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that the charge will not go on the child’s record; if it does, it could hinder their ability to get into college and obtain a job.

What Punishment Can My Friend Face For Assaulting An Officer During Arrest In North Hollywood?

Anyone who assault, batters, or otherwise interferes with an officer’s duties will be charged with a crime. No one wants to be charged with a crime against a law enforcement officer, because the punishment will be particularly harsh, resulting in a tarnished reputation, loss of freedom, and a criminal record. Anyone who is facing such a charge should get an attorney right away.

What Are The Potential Penalties For An Assault & Battery Conviction In LA County?

The penalties for assault and battery can include jail time if serious injuries, egregious behavior, or a prior criminal history are involved. Other penalties include fines, a 200 percent penalty assessment on any fine in Los Angeles County, community service, Cal-Trans, community labor, and probation. In addition, a criminal protective order could be put in place, which would prevent the defendant from coming within 100 yards of the individual whom they assaulted. Violation of this protective order would result in a new criminal prosecution and a probation violation, which could mean jail time. In my experience over the past 25 years, many cases of assault are viewed as low-grade misdemeanors for which diversion programs are available, which allows a defendant to keep a clean record, stay out of jail, and get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.

What Are Some Defenses That Are Possible In Assault Cases In California?

The defenses that will be available to a person who has been charged with assault in Los Angeles County will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Self-defense or the defense of another individual (such as a loved one or family member) is a common defense used in these cases. While this type of defense can be successful, it can become problematic when a person assaults or batters someone else in the process of defending property. While a person is allowed to use a reasonable amount of force when defending property, some people will go too far instead of simply calling 911 and reporting the incident. By letting the police get involved instead of using physical force, a person puts themselves in a much stronger position. There are several defenses that can be used in assault cases; in order to determine which will best suit the circumstances of a particular case, it is best to sit down with an attorney. There is no one-size-fits-all defense in any assault case in Los Angeles County.

Why Do I Need To Hire A Highly Experienced LA Criminal Defense Attorney To Handle My Assault Case?

Attorneys have experience in dealing with criminal matters, they know how to deal with judges, and they know how to deal with prosecutors. When a person’s freedom is on the line, they don’t want to represent themselves in the criminal justice system. Instead, they should obtain an experienced attorney so that they only have to deal with the process once, and so they get it done correctly the first time. Taking the risk of forgoing representation by an attorney can result in a lifelong criminal record. An attorney will be there every step of the way to protect a defendant’s rights, freedoms, and reputation.

For more information on Assault & Battery Charges In California, a free strategy session is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 374-3952 today.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Call For A Free Strategy Session
(213) 374-3952