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Different Types Of Southern California Battery Charges

The basic batter charge is covered under California Penal Code §240. However, there are many different types of battery within the relevant Penal Code section, each with it’s own set of potential consequences.

Battery causing serious bodily injury

Under California Penal Code §243(d) it is unlawful to commit a battery against any person where serious bodily injury is inflicted. When serious bodily injury is inflicted, there is a higher potential range of consequences. Under the basic battery statute, a person may be sentenced to no more than six months of imprisonment in County jail. When there is serious bodily injury and they are charged under this statute, they may be imprisoned up to one year in county jail. In certain situations, it may also be anywhere between two to four years in state prison.

Domestic Battery

California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) addresses battery towards a family member or a person with whom you share intimate relations. There must be a relationship between the person charged and the victim that falls within one of the categories outlined by legislation. These relationships include, but are not limited to, a spouse, fiancé, someone with whom you live or are dating, and the parent of your child.

Courts will consider a battery committed within one of the abovementioned relationships very seriously because it is a relationship of trust. When there is injury by a person whom you should trust implicitly, it warrants serious consequences.

The potential range for domestic batter is more severe than that of a battery committed against another with whom the person charged does not have an intimate relationship. A person convicted of domestic batter may serve anywhere up to a year in county jail and/or may be asked to pay a fine of up to $2,000.00.

Southern California Battery Charge

Under California Penal Code §242, a person who willfully and unlawfully uses force or violence upon another can be charged and possibly convicted of battery.

Unwarranted contact

It is important that there is unwarranted contact, even if it does not cause harm. For example, Person A takes a chair and swings at Person B. The chair merely grazes Person B on the arm causing no significant injury other than a scratch. Person A intended to cause harm to Person B, but did not succeed in doing so. There will still be a battery charge, even though Person B was not really harmed or injured.

Battery v. Assault

Unlike battery, there does not have to be any kind of contact with an assault. In an assault, the mere attempt coupled with the ability to do so is sufficient. In comparison, a battery requires some unwarranted contact, regardless of whether it causes injury.

Let’s consider an example comparing the two. Person A swings at Person B and misses, although, if they would have hit Person B, they would have caused injury. This is an assault, there is no contact, but person A intended to hit person B and had the ability to do so. Now lets assume that Person A swings at Person B, but loses their balance and ends up barely touching their arm with their fist. Although there is no injury, there is contact and will therefore be charged as a battery, not an assault.

Prosecutors must prove the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. They must show that the person used force or violence, upon another person, and made actual physical contact. If the elements are not proven to the high burden of proof, then the jury cannot find the person charged guilty and the case must be dismissed.

Potential Consequences

California Penal Code §242 outlines the legislative range for potential consequences imposed when a person is convicted of battery.

The Penal code section will provide a range for the Judge to follow. A sentence imposed for a certain conviction must fall within the range established by legislation. Whether the final penalty will fall closer to the lower end of the spectrum or higher will depend on several factors. The Judge will consider what Prosecution says, the prior criminal history of the person being charged and the specific facts of the case.

Potential Jail Sentence

For a California battery charge, the person may serve anywhere between zero to six months of jail time. Whether the person serves no days, or many days will depend on what the Judge decides after considering the applicable factors. For example, Person A has never been charged with a crime before, and got involved in a bar fight and swung at the other person, causing contact but no injury. Because it is a first time offense, and no real injury involved, the Judge is likely to impose no jail time. In comparison, let’s say that Person A has been charged and convicted of assault about 6 months ago. Person A gets into a bar fight and breaks a glass bottle and hits Person B on the head. Person B suffers serious injury and has to get stitches. In this situation, there is a prior history, and Person A used a weapon and caused injury. The Judge will likely impose some sort of a jail sentence.

There is plenty of room for negotiation when the final sentence falls within a range. It is the job of the DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney to present an argument persuading the Judge to impose a lesser sentence, if not dismiss the case altogether.