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California Assault & Battery Penalties

A simple battery is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of 6 months in the county jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine. In many instances, a criminal complaint will charge both an assault (sometimes referred to as an attempted battery) and a battery (sometimes referred to as a completed assault). If the battery is committed on certain individuals, the maximum punishment increases to a year in jail if charged as a misdemeanor.

On the other hand, a simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If the assault is committed against certain individuals, such as a police officer or a custodial officer, there is increased punishment, and the charge may be elevated to a felony.

An aggravated assault may be charged as a:

  • Misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of a year in jail.
  • Felony is punishable by imprisonment in state prison. The length of the prison sentence will depend on certain factors, such as the type of weapon used and/or the seriousness of the injury caused by the assault.

Furthermore, if battery or assault is committed on certain individuals, the maximum punishment increases to a year in jail if charged as a misdemeanor and may be filed as a felony with a sentence to state prison for a longer period:

  • Police officers
  • Firefighters, while they are engaged in the performance of their duties
  • Custodial or other civil servants
  • Victims of serious injury

The length of the penalties for either will depend on certain factors, such as the seriousness of the injury or any prior criminal history. A battery causing serious bodily injury, which is charged as a felony, is considered a "strike" in California under the Three Strikes Law. In addition, aggravated assault occurs when it is committed by the use of force likely to cause great bodily injury or by the use of a deadly weapon. Assault with a deadly weapon is also a “strike” in California under the Three Strikes Law.

Is Spitting On Someone Assault in California?

'Assault' and 'battery' share many characteristics. Battery refers to striking another person or using "force or violence" against them, whereas assault refers to attempting to harm someone while having the "present ability" to do so. You are unlikely to harm someone by spitting on them unless you spit in their eye. This may still constitute assault and battery.

The Penal Code * 242 defines "unlawful use of force or violence upon the person" as a very broad term. When the touching involved in the case is offensive or unwanted, then even nonviolent or non-forceful acts can be considered assault.

Defenses to Battery Charges in California

Battery charges in California can lead to severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. However, several defenses can be effectively employed by a skilled criminal defense attorney to challenge these charges and protect your rights.

  • Self-Defense: One of the most common defenses against battery charges is self-defense. You may be able to establish a valid defense if you used force to protect yourself from imminent harm. It must be shown that the force used was reasonable and necessary to prevent injury to yourself.
  • Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, this defense applies if you used force to protect another person from imminent harm. If you are defending an individual, the force you use should again be reasonable and proportional to the threat he or she faces.
  • Lack of Intent: Battery is defined as the intentional and unlawful use of force against another person. If you can show that the contact was accidental and not intentional, this can serve as a strong defense.
  • Consent: In some situations, the alleged victim may have consented to the physical contact. For example, in contact sports or consensual physical activities, the participants agree to a certain level of contact, which can be a defense against battery charges.
  • False Accusation: Unfortunately, false accusations do occur. Witness testimony, surveillance footage, or other relevant documentation can be used by an attorney to prove your innocence if you have been falsely accused of battery.
  • Lack of Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed battery. If the evidence against you is weak or insufficient, your attorney can argue for dismissal of the charges.

Hiring an experienced Orange County battery attorney is crucial in effectively presenting these defenses. They can thoroughly investigate the case, gather evidence, and develop a strategic defense to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

Contact Our Orange County Assault & Battery Lawyer For a Strong Defense

In most assault or battery cases, the key prosecution evidence consists of statements from the alleged victim and other eyewitnesses. The ability to effectively cross-examine these witnesses regarding their perception and recollection of the incident, as well as any possible motives or biases which may affect their credibility, is crucial to a successful defense of the case. In some cases, the issue of self-defense may come into play as a viable defense. Having been a former prosecutor for over seven years and having tried over 50 criminal jury trials, Attorney Christian Kim has the ability to evaluate a case from all sides and possesses the trial skills needed to provide you with an excellent defense.

Contact the Law Offices of Christian Kim online or call (714) 576-2935 today to get started on your defense with our Orange County assault & battery attorney.

 Qualities of a Top-Tier Attorney

 When it Comes to Your Attorney, Experience Matters
  • Commitment
    Attorney Christian Kim is committed to using his extensive experience as a former prosecutor and as a Santa Ana criminal defense attorney to aggressively and competently defend the rights of those accused of wrongdoing.
  • Integrity
    Mr. Kim believes that anything less than complete honesty is a disservice to his clients. You deserve complete and frank communication from your attorney in order to make informed decisions in your case.
  • Professionalism
    Maintaining the highest level of professionalism with all of his clients is a priority for Mr. Kim. Each client is treated respectfully and courteously and all phone calls are returned promptly.
  • Experience
    After more than 7 years serving the Orange County area as a prosecutor and now over 14 years as a criminal defense attorney, Christian Kim has experience on both sides. His unique history gives him the one-of-a-kind perspective that your case needs.
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