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Newport Beach Assault and Battery Attorneys

Definition of Assault and Battery in California

Although assault and battery are usually referred to together, California law treats them as different offenses and defines conduct under two separate statutes. Generally, assault and battery are misdemeanors punishable by jail time and/or fines. However, if aggravating factors are present, such as causing serious bodily injury to the victim or using a weapon during the offense, the crimes are elevated to felonies. A conviction at the felony level can lead to a lengthy prison term and high fines.

If you have been charged with either or both offenses, contact our Newport Beach assault and battery lawyers to discuss your situation. At the Law Offices of Randy Collins, our team has over 45 years of combined experience and has handled thousands of cases. Understanding how frightening this situation can be, we will explain your legal options and provide information that could help avoid jail time. We genuinely care about the people we serve and are ready to do what it takes to seek a favorable result on your behalf. Helping Those Accused in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino & Los Angeles.

Schedule your free consultation by contacting our firm at (844) 285-9559 today. Our Newport Beach assault and battery lawyers will give the prompt and personal attention you deserve.

California’s Assault Law

In California, assault is defined as a willful attempt to injure another (California Penal Code 240). For a prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they must also prove that the alleged offender had the “present ability” to carry out the offense.

Note that assault involves the attempt to harm another person. Actual physical contact does not have to occur for charges to be levied.

Examples of assault include:

  • Swinging a bat at someone
  • Gearing up to throw a punch at another
  • Hurling rocks toward someone

In California, assault is one of the most commonly charged crimes. According to the Office of the Attorney General, more than 300,000 assaults occur every year in the state. Aggravated assaults involving the use of a weapon were reported almost 3,600 times in Orange County during 2014.

Too often, charges are filed against innocent individuals who committed no crime. Our assault and battery attorneys in Newport Beach will review the details of your case to determine what defenses can be raised.

California's Battery Law

Under California Penal Code 242, battery is defined as the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Thus, if a person physically and harmfully contacts someone else, they have committed a crime.

Examples of battery include:

  • Striking a person with a bat
  • Landing a punch on someone’s face
  • Hitting someone with a rock

What’s the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

The main difference between these offenses is that battery involves physical contact, while assault is an attempt to use force or violence that did not result in physical contact.

To further illustrate what distinguishes assault and battery from each other, let us discuss them in terms of a fight. Say two people get into an altercation. One of the individuals pulls back their arm and is about to punch the other. That simple motion – pulling back the arm – is considered assault. The person is attempting to injure the other.

Now, if the person completes the punch and makes physical contact with the individual they’re fighting, they have committed battery. In a sense, battery involves assault because an effort was first made to harm someone else, and then actual force or violence upon another occurred. However, the reverse is not necessarily true – where assault involves battery – because a person can try to injure another without actually completing the attempt.

Assault and Battery Penalty in California

Assault and battery without aggravating factors are both misdemeanors.

The conviction penalties that can be imposed are as follows:

  • Assault:
    • Up to 6 months in jail and/or
    • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Battery:
    • Up to 6 months in jail and/or
    • Up to $2,000 in fines

In addition to the penalties outlined above, most cases require offenders to participate in a batterer’s intervention program. Other sentencing may include community service and probation.

California Penal Code 245 A: Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW)

An assault is an attempt to injure or harm someone else. When a person attempts an assault with a deadly weapon, sentencing is increased. A deadly weapon could include a knife, gun, or some object that would cause significant harm to the targeted individual someone.

Prosecutors can charge ADW as a serious misdemeanor or as a felony. The crime of assault with a deadly weapon is always a felony if it is committed against a police officer or if certain firearms or other weapons are used to commit the crime.

The penalties for ADW include:

  • Misdemeanor:
    • Up to one year in jail,
    • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
    • Confiscation of weapons
  • Felony:
    • 2 or 4 years in prison,
    • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
    • Confiscation of weapons

Additionally, the judge may order offenders to enroll in anger management classes, participate in community service, and pay victim restitution.

Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

If a person uses force or violence on another, and in doing so, causes the other individual to suffer serious bodily injury, battery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The prosecutor will consider various factors, such as the severity of the injuries and the relationship of the parties involved, to determine the level of charge.

If prosecuted as a misdemeanor, the conviction penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail and/or
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

If the offense is prosecuted as a felony, it is punishable by:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in prison and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Battery Against a Spouse

A spouse could be anyone the batterer has or had an intimate relationship with. It could be a current or former spouse, partner, or parent of a child. The elements of the crime are the same as simple battery (that is willfully using force or violence against another), with the inclusion that both parties were related domestically.

Penalties include:

  • Up to $2,000 in fines and/or
  • Up to 1 year in jail

California Penal Code 243.4 Sexual Battery

Sexual battery involves the use of force, violence, or threat on another to gratify oneself sexually and without the person’s consent.

The relation of sexual battery to assault laws is that this sexual contact was unwanted. The penalties for criminal sexual charges depend on several factors, including the victim’s age, health, and injuries.

The punishments may include:

  • Misdemeanor:
    • 6 months in jail, and/or
    • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Felony:
    • 2, 3 or 4 years in prison, and/or
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

Other potential penalties include probation and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Defenses for Assault and Battery Offenses in CA

Some assault and battery allegations result from mistaken perceptions. Others may be motivated by jealousy or envy, by a desire for revenge, or by the belief that the accuser’s job security will be enhanced if an assault arrest leads to the termination of someone else’s employment.

A few types of defenses raised in assault and battery cases include:

  • The accused was exercising self-defense, and it was the other party who committed the offense
  • There was no intention to harm the person, or it was an act of consent
  • The defendant was wrongly accused
  • If the circumstances involved minors, the parent(s) was merely exercising discipline, with no injuries. An example would be spanking a child.

Contact Our Newport Beach Assault and Battery Lawyers for Help

It’s important to contact a criminal defense lawyer, given that most assault cases can subject offenders to the Three Strikes Law in California.

Call the Law Offices of Randy Collins today if you’re facing charges. Our Newport Beach assault and battery attorneys can help defend your innocence and work toward a favorable outcome for you. We will bring superior legal experience to aid you in this challenging time.

Contact us at (844) 285-9559 today to speak with our assault and battery lawyers in Newport Beach.

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