California Assault and Battery Lawyer Helping Clients in San Diego
Are you facing charges for assault and battery?
It is more important than ever to begin working with an experienced San Diego assault and battery attorney on your defense.
While assault and battery offenses may only be charged as misdemeanors, you could still face jail time in California, along with a substantial financial penalty.
Even if your sentence reflects the minimum sentencing guidelines with limited jail time, you will still have to deal with the effects of having a criminal record.
When you have a record of assault and battery, you may have difficulty getting hired at certain jobs, and you could face other repercussions in your day-to-day life.
We know how difficult it can be to face criminal charges, and we make it a priority to offer emotional support while we provide you with the strongest possible defense we can.
Learning More About Assault and Battery Under California Law
Assault and battery are two separate and distinct crimes, yet they are frequently charged together.
Accordingly, when a person is facing assault charges, she or he often is facing battery charges, as well.
How are these crimes different from one another, and how are they defined under California law?
California Penal Codes 240 defines assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
To put it another way, you might think of assault as the attempt to touch a person in an offensive or violent way without actually doing so (but with the clear ability to do so). But you can also be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
California Penal Codes 242 defines battery, also known as “simple battery,” as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
To put this definition another way, you might think of a battery charge as the “companion” crime to assault.
While assault refers to the attempt to touch a person in an offensive or violent way without actually doing so, battery refers to actually touching someone in an offensive or violent way.
The battery does not require that the other person suffer an injury in order for the crime to be charged.
California law allows a person to face battery charges even if the way in which the defendant touches or makes contact with another person causes no injury or pain at all.
When battery does cause pain or injury, it is typically charged as a separate crime of battery involving serious bodily injury.
The penalties are much more severe for this form of battery upon conviction.
Relatedly, battery that is committed against a spouse or another family member that constitutes domestic violence also involves greater penalties.
Examples of Assault and Battery Under California Law
What types of incidents are charged as assault, and what types of incidents are charged as battery?
The following are just a few examples that might be charged as the assault:
- A man at a bar threatens another man at a bar with physical violence, and moves toward the man as if he might take a swing at him;
- A woman sees a man on the street who previously made lewd remarks toward her, and picks up a rock and throws it at the man, missing him; or
- A person throws an object at another person out of anger and desire to hurt that other person (even though the object misses that other person).
The following are just a few examples that might be charged as battery:
- Man punches another man at a bar, breaking the other man’s nose;
- Teenager shoves another teenager out of a desire to injure the other teenager, even though the shove causes no physical harm; or
- A person spits on another person out of anger toward that other person.
Why are assault and battery so often charged together?
As you might imagine, there are many different scenarios in which assault is coupled with battery.
For instance, in the assault example given above where a man threatens another man at a bar and approaches that man, you might imagine a scenario in which the man does actually take a swing at the other man and strikes him with his fist.
Or, if the woman in the assault example who threw a rock and missed picked up another rock and struck the man with it.
In such situations, the individual might be charged with assault and battery.
Penalties for Assault and Battery in San Diego, California
Under California law, both simple assault and simple battery are misdemeanor offenses. The following are potential penalties upon conviction:
- Assault: Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000; and
- Battery: Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
Aggravated assault and aggravated battery have more severe penalties.
As “wobbler” offenses, they can be charged either as misdemeanor offenses or felony offenses.
If charged as a felony offense, a convicted person can face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,0000.
Possible Defenses to Assault and Battery Charges
The following are examples of common defenses when you are facing assault and battery charges in California:
- You were acting in self-defense;
- You were acting in defense of another person;
- You are not the person who committed the offense (mistaken identity); or
- No offense actually was committed.
Contact a San Diego Assault and Battery Attorney About Your Case
With experience handling more than 85 jury trials and 21 years of advocating for clients, Mr. Armstrong is prepared to provide you with a confident and inspiring defense.
We tailor defense strategies to meet the needs of each of our clients while offering emotional support and compassionate advocacy during the difficult experience of seeking exoneration for a crime.
You should not have to face criminal charges on your own.
An aggressive yet compassionate San Diego assault and battery attorney can get started on your case.