Courts in California take violence seriously, so it’s a good idea to hire a violent crimes defense lawyer in California if you are facing charges.
Assault and battery are two common crimes, but not many people know their specific definitions. These can occur independently of each other, but they often go to trial together.
In this article, we’ll go over common examples of assault and battery to help differentiate these two types of crimes.
Assault and Battery
Under California law, these two offenses are separate crimes. However, they often go hand-in-hand and are both considered violent crimes.
Assault can be differentiated because it’s mostly about the threat of violence. Assault with a deadly weapon, for example, often comes up in robbery cases. Even if the weapon was not used, it often results in harsher criminal charges, while aggravated assault can lead to a penalty of up to a year in jail.
Battery, on the other hand, takes place when physical contact is achieved. It can result in bodily injury, but it doesn’t always. Sexual battery, for example, is a form of crime that includes unwanted sexual touching and may not result in violent injury but still carries severe penalties.
Common Examples of Assault and Battery Charges
There are a few common examples of assault and battery that are often used to help people understand the difference.
Assault covers any action that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. It doesn’t need to result in a physical injury, but it is any action that could result in an injury to the victim.
Spitting is often used as an example of battery because it causes no bodily harm, yet it’s easy to understand how it is still a form of offensive touching.
Simple assault is an attempt at harming someone that fails. If it succeeded, there would be a battery element as well.
However, a simple assault includes only the threat. Trying to punch someone or throw something at someone is a form of assault, as long as the attacker is within throwing distance and it is a physical possibility that it could have caused physical harm.
Assaults that are more serious may be considered wobblers because they’re on the line between misdemeanors and felonies.
If the assault involves a peace officer, such as a firefighter, security guard, law enforcement officer, or animal control, then it’s likely to be considered a felony.
The defendant’s criminal history will also inform how a wobbler case is treated. A good defense strategy can go a long way if you are facing charges of this type.
Simple battery includes all the most straightforward examples of battery. Any actual contact, such as striking someone or throwing something at them, is a battery.
Throwing bodily substances of any kind is also considered battery because of the unwanted and harmful nature of the act. Offensive contact of any kind falls into this category!
Domestic violence is a form of battery with harsher penalties and if done against a public officer, this carries steep penalties.
Wobbler battery offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on how serious they are.
Generally, wobbler cases involve professionals. That includes medical technicians, any school employee, traffic officer, healthcare workers, and other people performing their duties.
If a simple battery act is being charged as a felony, the court may instead charge it as a misdemeanor offense in court. An experienced battery attorney can help you with legal defenses and significantly reduce the potential penalties you face.
Penalties for Assault in California
Assault may not involve physical harm, but it can still lead to jail time.
- For simple assault, a person can spend up to six months in jail, be fined up to $1,000, and spend six months on probation.
- However, wobbler assaults or assaults involving a public worker can entail up to three years in jail, a fine of $2,000, and up to three years of probation.
The specifics depend on whether the defendant faces misdemeanor charges or felony charges.
Penalties for Battery in California
Battery is a wobbler offense, which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the severity of the crime. For a simple battery charge, one may face up to six months in the county jail, fines of $1000, and up to six months of probation.
Battery crimes against law enforcement or animal control officers will result in longer potential jail time.
If it becomes a felony charge, it may result in state prison time rather than time in the county jail. In that situation, prison time ranges from 16 months to three years, with probation of up to three years.
The standard fine is up to $2,000, but it can reach $5,000 if the victim happens to be a juror or $10,000 if the victim either travels via public transport or works on public transport.
Battery against a law enforcement officer carries the same jail time as other felony charges and a fine of up to $10,000.
Are You Facing Assault or Battery Charges? LibertyBell Law Group Can Help!
Hiring a violent crimes defense lawyer in California can turn your case around and help you push back against accusations. Our legal team has served Southern California for many years, and we have developed winning legal strategies for our clients.
We offer free consultations so you can learn more about your legal options and how to move forward. If you are interested in personalized legal advice, contact us at 877-545-3559 at LibertyBell Law Group today!