In the United States, two of the most common criminal charges are assault and battery. In California, the Penal Code 242 designates that assault and battery are two different offenses. But they are commonly paired and charged together.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with assault and battery, it is essential to comprehend the components of the offenses, the potential penalties, and your legal rights. A CA Penal Code 242 assault and battery lawyer is critical to defending yourself against these charges.
Assault and Battery Defined
Since the two offenses are often charged together, most people only have a vague idea that there is a difference. An assault is an attempt to violently injure another person, while battery is the actual use of force or violence.
Characteristics of Assault According to CA Penal Code 242
The willful attempt to injure someone violently is considered an assault. Violent threats may also cause the victim to fear for their immediate safety. Under CA Penal Code 242, are the following characteristics of assault:
- Using the threat of violence or force willfully against another person.
- The act or threat has to qualify as an action that can potentially cause immediate harm.
- The person threatening or committing the action has to be capable of carrying out the harm.
An example of this is someone throwing a brick at someone. This is considered assault, even if the brick misses. This could also be considered assault if the person only threatened the action, but the victim felt reasonably sure that the action would be carried out.
Elements Defining Battery Under CA Penal Code 242
Using force or violence against the victim is defined as battery. The victim does not have to sustain a physical injury. Instead, the very use of force or violence is enough to consider battery. The following list demonstrates the elements of CA Penal Code 242:
- Willfully using violence or force against someone else.
- The victim’s experience of this force or violence is considered harmful or offensive.
- The victim did not consent to have force or violence used against them.
An illustration of a harmful act considered battery could be if someone hits a person. Another example of a battery that does not result in physical harm but because it is offensive would be if someone spits on someone else. This still reaches the level of force or violence considered battery.
Assault and Battery Penalties Under CA Penal Code 242
Under CA Penal Code 242, assault and battery are both considered misdemeanors. These misdemeanors do carry penalties. They are listed below:
- $1,000 fine
- Six months incarceration
- Informal probation
The court could also potentially order the defendant to complete the following:
- Community service
- Anger management
Penalties could be more severe than those listed above if the victim of the crime were a protected individual. Protected individuals are peace officers, firefighters, and such.
If the victim sustains a severe injury, the defendant can be sentenced to four years. A strike will be added to their criminal record. This strike can make sentencing guidelines stricter if there is ever another brush with the law.
Ways an Assault and Battery Conviction Can Affect You
If you are convicted of assault and battery, it can have serious implications that impact your life in very harmful ways. Some of the potential ways that an assault and battery conviction can hurt you are listed below:
- Being convicted of assault and battery leaves you with a criminal record. These can make it difficult to secure housing, have custody of your children, find employment, qualify for volunteer opportunities, or obtain loans or credit.
- The penalties for assault and battery can cost a lot of money. There are fines, time away from work while in jail, lost employment because many employers will not hold a job for an employee serving time, and expensive anger management classes.
- Penalties like probation and time to do community service may add to the inconveniences that come with an assault and battery conviction.
- Personal relations can suffer due to an assault and battery charge, especially if the victim is someone in your family, a friend, or a romantic partner. Repairing trust in your relationships can be quite difficult.
- Your professional licenses or certifications could be jeopardized by an assault and battery conviction. Many professions will revoke your license for such an offense.
- Lost educational opportunities may be a result of an assault and battery conviction. Background checks for scholarships and educational programs can end before they start if those see the blight on your record in the position of choosing who attends an institution or who is given a financial leg up.
- If you are in the United States but are not a citizen, an assault and battery conviction can negatively impact your immigration status, leading to deportation, denial of citizenship, and the ability to hold a visa or green card.
Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you mitigate the potential consequences following an assault and battery arrest. Your CA Penal Code 242 lawyer in Los Angeles will ensure you understand the charges against you and how to best navigate them.
It is crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the potential consequences of an assault and battery charge and protect your legal rights. Your attorney can also help you explore potential defense strategies and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Defense Strategies for Assault and Battery Charges
CA Penal Code 242 attorneys will review your case and devise a strategy to challenge the charges against you. Some of the defense strategies for assault and battery charges may include:
- Self-defense: Force used to defend yourself against an imminent threat opens up the possibility of a self-defense argument.
- Consent: When the victim consented to the use of force or violence, it may not be considered battery.
- Lack of Intent: If you did not set an intention to commit the offense, it might not meet the required conditions of the crime.
- False accusation: Your CA Penal Code 242 lawyer in Los Angeles may challenge the victim’s credibility if the victim falsely accuses you of assault and battery.
By working with a skilled criminal defense attorney versed in CA Penal Code 242 cases, you can construct a robust defense and protect your rights.
Contact an Experienced Las Angeles DUI Lawyer Today
We understand that a criminal conviction can be life-altering, and our goal is to help you avoid that. An experienced attorney can navigate the complexities of an assault and battery charge to mount the most vigorous defense possible for you. Reach out today for a free consultation.