Assault and Battery Lawyer in Los Angeles
Definition of Assault and Battery in California
Assault and battery in California are governed by two separate laws. One deals with assault and the other deals with battery. While many may use the terms as a single offense, or even interchangeably, they are each separate and distinct. Each offense has its own distinct definition and penalties.
This is how California law defines the two terms:
- Assault – California Penal Code 240 PC – “An unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury to the person of another.”
- Battery – California Penal Code 242 PC – “Any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
If you are charged with the crime of assault, battery, or both, don’t try to handle it on your own. You need an assault and battery attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal system and make sure that your rights are protected. You need the Manshoory Law Group.
California’s Simple Assault Law
There are five criteria that must be met in order for a person to be found guilty of simple assault:
- The person must commit an act that would result in them directly and probably applying force to another person
- The act must be done willfully
- The person must have knowledge or be aware that the action would result in the application of force
- The person must have the ability to apply force
- The person cannot have any legal excuse such as self-defense or defense of another person
Swinging at someone to punch them and missing, even if the other person ducked to avoid the punch, is assault. Throwing something at someone with the intention of hurting them and missing is assault.
California’s Simple Battery Law
There are three criteria that must be met in order for a person to be found guilty of simple battery:
- The person must touch or make contact with another person
- The act must be done willfully
- The act must be considered by a reasonable person to be done in a harmful or offensive manner
The touching may be done directly or indirectly. The offender may use their hand or other body parts, or an object. Spitting on someone can be considered battery. If you purposely or willingly committed the act, even if you did not mean to break the law or gain an advantage over the person or harm them, you can still be found guilty of battery.
Under California law, a wobbler offense also referred to as an “alternative felony/misdemeanor offense,” is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Often it is the prosecution who determines this, although judges may make the decision as well.
- Wobbler Assaults
- Assault against the police officer of a school district
- Assault against a corrections officer for a prison or jail, or any custodial officer
- Assault against a juror or alternate juror by any person associated with the case
- Wobbler Batteries
- Battery resulting in an injury that is serious enough to require medical treatment against an employee of a school while that employee is performing his or her duties, or as an act of retaliation for an action taken while the employee was performing his or her duties
- Battery against a juror or alternate juror by any person associated with the case
- Battery resulting in an injury that is serious enough to require medical treatment against healthcare workers or public workers
- Battery against a law enforcement officer during the course of the officer performing his or her duties
What Is the Legal Definition of Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
California Penal Code Section 245 defines assault with a deadly weapon as:
Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
A deadly weapon is any instrument, weapon, or object that can be used to inflict great bodily harm or death or is likely to do so – except for a firearm.
Some common types of deadly weapons include:
- Unloaded weapon
- Brass knuckles
- Blunt object
- Baseball bat
- Offender’s hands or feet
- Vicious dog
Assault with a deadly weapon in California is a wobbler offense.
The Difference Between Assault and Battery in California
Many people will use the phrase “assault and battery,” as if it is a single offense. The truth is, the two are separate and quite different. Assault is its own separate charge but is related to battery in that it often precedes battery. By the same token, the battery is related to assault because it often follows assault.
- Assault – A man throws a rock at another man but does not hit him
- Battery – A man throws a rock at another man and hits him
- Assault – A man threatens a man with a baseball bat
- Battery – A man hits a man with a baseball bat
Do Assault and Battery Cases Go to Civil or Criminal Court?
California addresses assault and batter under civil law as well as criminal law. This is because civil assault and civil battery are both considered “intentional torts.” This allows the victim to be compensated for the harm that was intentionally inflicted upon them by the offender.
Even when an assault and/or battery case is tried in criminal court, the victim is also free to seem compensation for damages in civil court.
- Civil Assault – The victim was placed in fear of imminent contact even though there was no contact or injury. It is enough that the offender intended to scare or incite fear in the victim and that emotional distress is considered to be damaged.
- Civil Battery – The victim was physically harmed, even if the offender did not intend to injure or have physical contact with them.
What is the penalty for assault and battery in California?
The penalties for assault and battery in California carry maximum sentences that include jail time and fines. Wobbler offenses that are tried as felonies have harsher penalties.
Penalties for Assault
- Penal Code 240
- Misdemeanor Sentence
- Maximum 6 months in county jail and/or
- Maximum fine $1,000
Penalties for Battery
- Penal Code 242
- Misdemeanor Sentence
- Maximum 6 months in county jail and/or
- Maximum fine $2,000
Battery causing serious bodily injury (Penal Code 242(d) is also a wobbler offense under California law. If charged as a felony, it carries a maximum prison sentence of 4 years.
Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
- Penal Code 245(a)(1)
- Wobbler Offense
- Misdemeanor Sentence
- Maximum 1 year in county jail
- Felony Sentence
- Minimum 2 years in prison
- Maximum 4 years in prison
- Maximum fine $10,000
Defending Against Assault and Battery
Having an assault and/or battery conviction on your record can follow you for the rest of your life and affect where you are able to live and where you can work. Potential employers may be hesitant to hire someone who has a criminal record, especially one that is potentially violent. Add to that the fine and jail time and it’s easy to see how important a good defense can be.
If you want to beat California assault and battery charges or lessen your sentence, your criminal defense lawyer will work with you to create a good defense.
Some of the defenses against assault and battery include:
- You lacked the ability to inflict force or harm the victim
- You acted in self-defense
- You acted in defense of someone else
- Your action lacked intent, or you did not act willfully
- You were falsely accused
- Mistaken identity
- You were disciplining your child and had parental right to do so
Why You Need an Assault and Battery Lawyer in Los Angeles
An assault and/or battery charge can have a significant negative impact on your life. There are long-lasting and far-reaching consequences that will follow you forever. It isn’t always easy to understand the charges against you or how to navigate the criminal court system. An assault and battery lawyer can help you.
An attorney who has experience in defending people charged with assault and battery is your best chance at beating the charge or getting it reduced. They know how to best present your case and can build the most effective defense for you.
It is never a good idea to walk into court without representation.
Contact Los Angeles Assault & Battery Attorneys
If you are facing assault and battery charges, you need an assault and battery lawyer. Call the Manshoory Law Group today. Our team has the education and experience in represents clients charged with assault and battery in Los Angeles. Make sure your rights are protected. That’s what we do, and we’ll do it for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Lawyer Handles Assault?
A criminal defense lawyer handles assault cases and represents clients who have been charged with assault crimes.
What is a Battery Lawyer?
The criminal defense lawyer is a battery lawyer. They handle a variety of criminal cases, including battery.
Is Battery Worse than Assault?
In many cases, the battery may be considered worse than assault simply because a battery charge involves actual harm. However, assault incites fear which can be the harm in itself, albeit emotional harm, which is why it can be tried as a civil matter and the victim can seek compensation for damages.
What are the Three Elements of Simple Assault?
The three elements of simple assault are:
- The offender act with intent to cause offensive or harmful contact.
- The offender creates imminent apprehension of the contact.
- The victim experiences apprehension or fear of harmful contact.
What Makes It Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Not Attempted Murder?
In California criminal court, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the offender intended to kill the victim. California law also allows actions to be used to show intent.
Assault with a deadly weapon is typically a heat of the moment crime and not planned. Planning would show intent.
There are many intricacies that can arise from a situation like this which is why it is vital that you obtain good legal counsel if you are facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge.
What is the Average Sentence for Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Assault with a deadly weapon California carries a minimum sentence of 1 year in jail up to four years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Each case is different, so it is difficult to provide an average when there are so many unique elements within a case that determine its outcome.
How Serious is Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Assault with a deadly weapon can be very serious, especially if it is tried as a felony offense which can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10.000.
What’s Considered Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Using a weapon, instrument, or force to attempt to inflict bodily harm on another person, and that weapon, instrument, or force is likely to cause great bodily harm is assault with a deadly weapon.
A deadly weapon can be anything that has the potential to cause great bodily harm, such as your hands and feet, a vehicle, a shoe, a rock, or a knife.
How Long do You Go to Jail for Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
The maximum sentence for assault with a deadly weapon in California is four years in prison. The minimum sentence is 1 year in county jail.
Does Assault with a Deadly Weapon Count as a Strike in California?
Felony Offense – If the offender used force that was likely to produce great bodily injury and the victim sustained great bodily injury the offense does count as a strike.
Felony Offense – If the offender used a deadly weapon, even if the victim did not sustain great bodily injury, it does count as a strike.