Assault & battery are considered violent crimes in California. Battery is the unlawful use of force upon another. Even the slightest touching can be considered a battery—injury is not required. Assault is generally considered an attempted battery—that is, where a person made an attempt at committing a violent touching of another but no contact was made assault may be charged.
Many felony assault & battery cases are considered “strikes” under California’s “three strikes” law. These charges are very serious and can be used to increase punishment in future cases. Among the different types of assault & battery cases attorney Thomas Greenberg handles successfully are:
Penal Code 240 – Assault
PC 240 is an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury upon another. No contact is required—and in fact, if contact results, you have committed the more serious offense of battery. A conviction for assault requires that the prosecutor prove that you acted willfully in a way that would likely result in violent injury to another and that you had the present ability to carry out that violent injury. Assault is generally punishable by any of the following, or a combination of the following: a $1,000 fine, six months imprisonment in county jail, community service, and/or classes in non-violence. Assault is charged when battery is charged because battery (the unlawful touching of another) cannot take place without the attempt to do so.
Penal Code 242 – Battery
PC 242 is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. Battery may be charged where there was any physical contact—the prosecutor need not prove pain or harm, as long as the prosecutor can prove that the contact was done in a rude, angry, or disrespectful manner. The physical contact need not be to the skin—when PC 242 is charged, physical contact with the person’s clothing or something attached to or closely connected to that person (such as an item that person is holding) may be sufficient.
Penal Code 243(d) – Aggravated Battery
Felony or misdemeanor aggravated battery may be charged if the accuser sustained a serious bodily injury. A serious bodily injury may include, but is not limited to: loss of consciousness, concussion, broken bones, disfigurement, a wound requiring stitches, or damage to an internal organ. If PC 243(d) is charged as a felony, it will be labeled a violent felony and may count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.
Penal Code 245(a)(1) – Assault with a Deadly Weapon
PC 245(a)(1) is the crime of simple assault (PC 240. See above.) with any type of deadly weapon or by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury to another. The definition of “deadly weapon” is quite broad—not only does it include obvious objects like knives and guns, but also may be charged where a beer bottle, sharp pencil, car, dog, or even shoe was used. Hands, feet, and other body parts do not count as “deadly weapons,” however, if you use your body to inflict great bodily injury—such as to choke, bite, punch, hit, scratch, or kick—“Assault with a Deadly Weapon” may still be charged. Assault with a deadly weapon may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the type of weapon used, whether the person allegedly assaulted actually sustained an injury, and identity of the victim.
Penal Code 422 – Criminal Threats
PC 422 makes it a crime to threaten to commit a crime that could result in death or serious bodily injury to another, even if there is no intent to actually carry out that threat, as long as the threat was unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific on its face and the threatened individual reasonably feared for his or her safety or the safety of his or her immediate family. PC 422 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction for PC 422 can result in up to a year in jail. A felony conviction for PC 422 can result in up to four years in prison, plus one year if a dangerous or deadly weapon was used. A felony conviction for PC 422 can be considered a “strike” under California’s three strikes law.
Many battery accusations are actually the result of self-defense on the part of the accused. If there is evidence that another party was to blame in the confrontation or that the contact was accidental, you may have a right to have your case dismissed.
If you have been accused or charged with assault or battery in San Mateo, Santa Clara, , or San Francisco counties, you will need the help of an experienced attorney who is familiar with assault & battery cases. San Mateo criminal defense attorney Thomas Greenberg can provide the experience you need to protect your best interests.