Battery in California

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Generally speaking, battery can be described as the willful and unlawful use of violence or force against another person. And while most people associate battery with severe injuries, it’s possible to be convicted of battery in California even if the victim isn’t injured. Below is an overview of the different types of battery in California and their penalties.


What is Battery?


Under California law, battery occurs when an individual:


  1. Touches another person;
  2. Willfully;
  3. In an offensive or harmful manner.


When the above elements are met, and the victim isn’t actually injured, this is called “simple battery.” However, if serious injury is inflicted on the victim, then this is called “aggravated battery.” As discussed below, the penalties for simple battery and aggravated battery are different, with the penalties for aggravated battery being more severe.



Simple battery, if it is not committed against a protected class of individual as described below, is a misdemeanor under California law. If charged with simple battery in California, the potential penalties include:


  • Misdemeanor probation;
  • A jail sentence of up to six months; and
  • A fine of up to $2000.


Aggravated battery, on the other hand, may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. If charged with aggravated battery in California, the potential penalties include:


  • A jail sentence of up to one year if charged as a misdemeanor;
  • A prison sentence of up to four years if charged as a felony;
  • A fine of up to $1000 if charged as a misdemeanor; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000 if charged as a felony.


In addition, as mentioned above, when a battery is committed against certain categories of protected individuals, the potential penalties are harsher. Examples of such individuals include:


  • Peace officers, including police and other law enforcement officials;
  • Firefighters;
  • Custodial officers; and
  • Paramedics or emergency medical technicians.


If it can be proven that the person who committed battery against a protected individual knew or should have known that such an individual belonged to a protected class, then he or she faces a potential jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2000. And if a person commits aggravated battery against a protected individual, then he or she faces a potential prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000.


San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys


Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with battery in San Diego, California, seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible. The talent and experience of our San Diego, California, attorneys ensure that our clients’ cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. If you or a loved one is facing battery charges in California, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.


Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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