Being charged with an assault and/or battery can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. However, instead of panicking, you should contact a criminal defense attorney from ANTN Law APC, as soon as possible.  It is best that you hire an experienced attorney from early on to prepare and build the best defense possible before your first court date.  Our attorneys will explain your rights and legal options thoroughly, and will fight for you to get the best outcome possible. 

Why You Should Choose An Attorney From ANTN:

Attorneys at ANTN Law APC differ from others in their unique ability to think “outside the box.” When it comes to criminal charges, our approach is to analyze and study your case in great detail, and come up with defenses which might be overlooked by other busy attorneys who do not spend the time necessary to defend your case.

Our attorneys stress the importance of your constitutional rights, which are often violated by the police, but sometimes never addressed by attorneys who don’t spend the necessary time to discovery those violations.  We spend a great amount of time analyzing the facts of each and every case, including the evidence we obtain through the discovery process, such as audio and video recordings, witness statements, and other hard or circumstantial evidence.  As a result, we often reveal information that can change the outcome of your case.

Understanding The Law Of Assault And Battery:

People often use the phrase “assault and battery” interchangeably. However, in California, assault and battery are two distinct crimes.

California Penal Code section 240 (Simple Assault) defines an assault as an “unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”

California Penal Code section 242 (Battery) defines battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”

As you can see, assault is an attempt to use force or violence on another person.  In other words, a person can be charged with assault even if he or she didn’t actually follow through with force or violence on another person. 

Example of a situation where an assault charge may be filed: A person threatening to stab someone with a knife, while holding a knife close to his neck. Even if the knife never touches the person being threatened, the person threatening can be charged with assault.

On the other hand, battery is the actual use of force or violence on another person. However, serious injury is not a requirement to the charge or conviction of battery.

Example of a situations where a battery charge may be filed: A man pushing another person during an argument; a woman throwing a book at a librarian after a dispute; or even intentionally spitting on another person.

Aggravated Assault And Battery:

In cases where “aggravating circumstances” are present, prosecutors may charge you with an aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which is usually a felony. 

For example, use of a deadly weapon is often a cause to elevate the charge of simple assault or battery to an aggravated assault or battery. 

What is considered a deadly weapon? A deadly weapon is usually any object (tool, car, instrument, substance, or device) that is used or is intended to be used in such a way that can cause great bodily injury or death to another human being.

Another example of aggravated assault is assault with the intent to commit a felony such as murder or rape.

Possible Defenses To Assault And Battery Charges (Not An Exhaustive List):

  • You acted in self-defense or in the defense of others
  • Yout contact with the other person was consensual in a battery case
  • Your actions were not likely to cause great bodily injury during an aggravated assault
  • Lack of causation: you did not cause the “serious injury” claimed in an aggravated battery case
  • You did not have the apparent ability to cause harm during an assault (example, the gun was not loaded)

What Is The Typical First Time Assault Penalties (Punishment)?

Simple assault is a misdemeanor.  If convicted of simple assault, you can face up to six months in jail and may have to pay fines of up to $1000. Assault with a deadly weapon can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction and may result in up to one year in jail or between two and four years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If you have a prior criminal record, it will affect your ultimate sentence. 

Penalties For Battery:

Battery is a “wobbler” in certain cases, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor battery, you can face up to six months in jail and may have to pay fines of up to $2,000 in fines.  Battery that results in serious bodily injury may be charged as a felony aggravated battery and will result in more serious fines and jail time.  If you have a prior criminal record, it will affect your sentencing as well. 

Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony criminal charges, your best course of action is to consult with a criminal defense attorney right away to best help you prepare for your case.