Battery

Los Angeles Battery Attorney

Orange County/Los Angeles Battery Attorney

Battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

This means you will be charged with battery if you purposely and unlawfully touch someone. The touching does not need to cause any pain or injury to be considered battery. This crime is usually charged when you hit another person.

This crime is different from assault because it requires that you actually make some sort of contact with another person, whether directly or indirectly.

Generally, being convicted of battery will result in you going to jail for up to six months and a two thousand dollar ($2,000) fine. However, the penalty significantly increases if the battery is committed against law enforcement, a spouse (domestic violence), or if the battery caused a serious bodily injury.

Punishment

There are different types of Battery crimes. The punishment will depend on what type of Battery crime you are charged with. Generally, a battery is a misdemeanor, however it can be a felony depending on the circumstances.

Simple Battery – California Penal Code 243(a)

Simple battery is the general battery crime that you can be charged with. If convicted, you may face up to six months in jail and up to a two thousand dollar ($2,000) fine on top of court fees.

Battery causing Serious Bodily Injury – California Penal Code 243(d)

This battery crime is a “wobbler.” This means that the prosecution can charge the battery crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the battery you are charged with resulted in serious bodily injury and you are convicted, a felony conviction can result in up to three years in state prison. A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to one year in jail. Having a battery attorney could possibly make a difference in whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.

This battery crime is also considered a violent felony and a conviction can also result in a strike on your record under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Domestic Violence Battery – California Penal Code 243(e)(1)

A conviction of battery against a spouse can result in up to one year in jail and up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) in fines. You may also be ordered to enroll in a batterer’s treatment program, make a payment of five thousand dollars ($5,000) to a battered victim’s shelter, or reimburse the victim for counseling expenses.

Sexual Battery – California Penal Code 243.4

This battery crime is also a “wobbler.” The battery can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. This battery crime is also considered a violent felony and a conviction can result in a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Elements

The following is what the prosecuting attorney must prove and the instructions that the Jury will read in determining the verdict for a charge of battery under California Penal Code 242, 243(a). Note that this is the general battery crime and there are several different types of battery that can be charged. Also, be aware that if you may be charged with both assault and battery.

Simple Battery – California Penal Code 242, 243(a)

The defendant is charged with battery in violation of Penal Code section 243(a).

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant willfully [and unlawfully] touched <insert name> in a harmful or offensive manner(;/.)

<Give element 2 when instructing on self-defense, defense of another, or reasonable discipline.>

AND

2. The defendant did not act (in self-defense/ [or] in defense of someone else/ [or] while reasonably disciplining a child).

Defenses

Just like with an assault charge, there are several battery defenses. Below is a list of the most common defenses, but the best defense will depend on the facts of your case.

Self-Defense

The law allows for you to defend yourself from imminent harm from another person. If you defended yourself by fighting back after another person attacked you, and you were the one that is charged with battery, you may have a viable self-defense claim. However, you may only use reasonable force in defending yourself. This makes it very important to have a battery attorney make your defense for you.

Accidental Contact

The crime of battery requires that you willfully make harmful contact with another person. Willfully means that you did the act on purpose. If the act you did was accidental and resulted in an injury, you can use this as a defense against a criminal charge of battery. It is crucial to have an attorney who can clearly articulate the facts of the circumstances and communicate that with the judge, prosecution, and the jury.

Intoxication

In some circumstances, being intoxicated can be used as a defense to the crime of battery. Battery requires willful conduct resulting in an injury. Being intoxicated may lend evidence that your act was not willful. This does not excuse you from acting a fool while drunk, because this may lead to other crimes being charged against you.

Reasonably Disciplining a Child

The law allows you to reasonably discipline your child. If charged with battery against your child, this may be a viable defense. However, the keyword in this defense is “reasonably.” It would be difficult in the mind of the judge to consider reasonable discipline of a child that resulted in a broken bone or worst.

These battery defenses are just a few of the defenses available. Call The Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan at (714) 248-DOAN (3626) to go over the facts of your case to see what defenses you may have. I am a Battery Attorney practicing all over Southern California including Orange County and Los Angeles.