Los Angeles Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
In my experience, I have seen assault and battery cases filed when two people get into a fight, altercation, or yelling match. Usually, one party gets the better of the other, and the police are then called out to the scene and make an arrest. However, just because one person got the better of another in a fight does not necessarily mean it is appropriate for the police and prosecutors to press a criminal case against the winning party.
Most of these scenarios revolve around reasonableness. If both parties act reasonably in a mutual combat situation (if that is possible), then technically, no one should be charged with a crime.
Yet if one party goes too far, then this is where criminal charges come into play. For example, arming oneself with a weapon in a fistfight is never a good idea. Weapon against a gun is usually OK, but it is never good to get a firearm unless the other party is seriously injuring you during a fight. This is where the prosecutors can contact you for a battery, assault, and even assault with a deadly weapon.
I see assault and battery charges being filed when one side of an argument goes way above what is reasonable and loses control of their emotions, putting themselves in a position where they have to defend themselves. Having handled these assault and battery cases over the past twenty-five years, I have a good feeling when it is an excellent case to press your rights to a jury or let your attorney negotiate a deal with the prosecutors.
There are a lot of factors to be considered when deciding whether to go to a jury trial. And one of the biggest surrounds giving your attorney all of the details of the situation and letting them guide you to a successful resolution. Embellishing the story or leaving essential facts out of the story is never helpful and can hurt you.
How Does California State Law Define Assault And Battery Charges?
In California, assault charges are different from battery charges, although they are sometimes combined as assault and battery. The battery is defined as harmful or offensive touching another, including the sexual battery. Pushing or snatching something out of another person's hand would be considered battery long as contact was involved. Assault, however, does not require physical contact.
For example, pretending to punch someone without contacting them would be considered an assault. Battery charges are more common than assault charges, and after doing this for 25 years, I would say that assault is usually more of a throwaway crime.
In other words, if someone gets in an argument with another person or does something that rises to the level of criminal activity and prosecutors want to charge them with something, they may choose to charge them with assault. Since assault under California Penal Code 240 is a low-grade misdemeanor, a person who has been accused of assault may be able to avoid a conviction by participating in a diversionary program, especially if they have no prior criminal record.
Are There Different Levels Of Assault And Battery Charges In California?
Assault is a straight misdemeanor that does not have different levels; the only factors that will come into play are the factual circumstances involved in the case. However, there are different levels of battery charges. Most batteries are misdemeanor domestic violence batteries, which often result from issues involving family members or significant others. Regular batteries include people with the perpetrator who has no familial or otherwise essential relation and are Penal Code Section 242 violations.
A battery could be charged as a felony if someone causes serious injury to another party, which means more than a scratch or bruise. Sometimes there are arguments over whether an incident warrants a felony or misdemeanor battery charge. If that's the case, the defendant should either have their defense attorney discuss the case with the prosecutor or take the case to trial and allow a jury to decide the seriousness of the charge.
What Factors Can Enhance An Assault And Battery Charge
If a weapon were involved in an assault charge, an individual would usually be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a felony strike. As a result, an individual would have to serve 85 percent of the jail or prison sentence.
There is no way to get rid of this type of strike in California. However, depending on the circumstances, a particular act may be deemed self-defense, in which case the charge could be dismissed or lowered to a low-grade assault.
How Does The Degree Of Injury Suffered Impact An Assault Charge?
In California, a person who inflicts serious injuries upon another person may face a charge of assault with a deadly weapon or felony battery. Although most people think of knives, guns, and bats as weapons, even a boot can be considered a weapon. For example, if someone were to stomp on another person's head while wearing a boot, they could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Even a person's hands or fists can be considered weapons if the person is specially trained or seriously injures someone. The assault Penal Code Section 240 in California does not include different degrees of assault; there is either straight misdemeanor assault or assault with a deadly weapon.
What Are the Penalties?
Battery charges under Penal Code 242 usually carry a penalty of up to six months in jail. A first-offense domestic violence battery charge carries a penalty of up to six months in prison, while a second offense carries a fine of up to one year. A felony battery charge for domestic violence has a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Assault charges typically carry a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail. Suppose jail or prison time is not sentenced. In that case, an individual may be placed on probation, be required to take a 52-week domestic violence course, do community service, or take anger management classes.
Several things can be ordered by a judge depending on how severe the allegations are and exactly what the crime entailed. A defendant may have to pay restitution to the victim if the victim was seriously hurt, but it will depend on the case's factual circumstances.
What About Self-Defense?
In some assault and battery cases, if someone is in the process of defending themselves against that person, they may be able to use self-defense to avoid receiving a charge or conviction. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and ultimately boils down to the level of reasonableness involved. The success of a self-defense claim for battery or assault will hinge on a reasonable person's objective standard.
In other words, an act of self-defense would be considered reasonable if a reasonable person would have defended themselves similarly under similar circumstances. For example, if someone were to initiate a fight and end up beating that person in response to their measures of self-defense, then they would not be able to use a self-defense claim.
No one wants to have a criminal charge on their record, and an attorney may be able to get the charge dismissed or work out a deal that would allow for the successful completion of a diversionary program in place of a conviction. An individual has a fighting chance to maintain a clean record with an attorney.
Essential Law to Consider in Assault and Battery Cases
The law in these cases is pretty straightforward. For a battery, under California Penal Code 242, there requires harmful or offensive touching to another party, and your actions have to be unlawful under the circumstances you are confronted with.
Even though the battery law is pretty straightforward, I see people getting into scenarios usually anything but plain. However, as I mentioned above, if someone is acting unreasonably under the totality of the circumstances, that person will be the one hit with the criminal charge, and their defense attorney will have a tough road to defend them.
Assault and battery, although separate criminal acts are generally grouped in a criminal charge. This is because most of the scenarios where these crimes are triggered involve violent behavior that amounts to assault and battery.
The local prosecutors never file many of the incidents where police are called out about an assault and battery issue because they do not believe the situation is severe enough to warrant a criminal filing. If the prosecutors decide to file a criminal battery or assault case, the problem is usually more difficult and dangerous than the average violent confrontation.
Assault, under California Penal Code 240, occurs if you threaten someone bodily with the intent of making contact with them. For a battery, physical harm is done to the person in a harmful or offensive manner. Both assault and battery are violent crimes and are taken seriously by prosecutors in Los Angeles County. These charges are usually filed by the City Attorney's Office in California. Penalties may include probation, fines, jail time, and loss of other essential rights.
Different Types of Assault and Battery Charges
We pride ourselves in taking the defense of these cases seriously and providing excellent legal advice and services for all types of assault and battery cases, including the following:
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
- Felony battery
- Simple battery
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated battery
- Domestic violence
- Disorderly conduct
If you face assault and battery charges, do not take a chance and contact our lawyers to see where you stand legally. We will discuss your accounts and all your available options and defenses. As your criminal defense attorney, we make it a top priority to get you the best possible results by doing everything we possibly can. We have helped thousands of clients facing assault and battery charges and have achieved excellent results. We are confident in our legal knowledge, skill, and strategy.