Bay Area Battery Lawyer
It is difficult to control your temper at all times. When you become frustrated and angry, you might lash out. You might spit at someone who offended you, shove someone causing trouble at the bar, or throw an object at your romantic partner. All of these instances can cause more offense than physical or emotional harm. You might find yourself in trouble with the law for not maintaining control anyway, even when it was a one-time mistake. In this situation, it is best to remain silent and call a Bay Area criminal defense attorney from Silver Law Firm.
Attorney Elliot Silver will protect your rights and defend you against aggravated battery, simple battery charges, or other assault charges. Call (510) 995-0000 today to schedule a free, initial case consultation.
California Battery Law
California Penal Code (CPC) 242 law defines battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. Despite this single sentence, there are a number of elements prosecutors must establish as true before you can be convicted of a crime.
Prosecutors must prove you exerted force or were violent toward another individual. Force denotes some sort of physical action, which could have been moderate or significant. Prosecutors must prove your use of force or violence was intentional and knowing. If your actions were by accident or you were involuntarily not in control of yourself, then you were not acting willfully. Finally, prosecutors must show you had no lawful justification to act as you did, such as self-defense.
There are also important issues not included in the definition of simple battery. Specifically, there is no mention of harm to the other person. Prosecutors do not have to show the alleged victim suffered any type of injury to prove you committed battery.
A more serious form of battery is called aggravated battery. This offense, which is outlined in CPC 243(d) occurs when you commit simple battery and it causes another person serious bodily injury.
In addition to all of the elements of battery, the prosecutor also must prove you caused another person serious physical harm, such as:
- Concussion or more serious traumatic brain injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Bone fracture
- Impairment or any loss of function of a bodily organ or member
- Lacerations requiring a significant number of stitches
Not every type of physical harm will be considered serious bodily injury. Muscle strains or sprains, small lacerations, abrasions, and bruising are not considered serious.
Battery is a Separate Offense from Assault
Under California law, assault and battery are two separate offenses. Assault (CPC 240) is an unlawful attempt, along with present ability, to commit a violent injury on another person. You can be charged with assault if you try or threaten to harm someone, and at the time, it appears that you could hurt them. Battery is the actual use of force or violence, whether or not it causes an injury. If you have any questions regarding these two offenses and when they are charged together or separately, contact an attorney.
Statutory Penalties for Battery
Under California law, battery is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. If the battery causes injuries requiring medical treatment, however, the offense becomes a wobbler, meaning prosecutors can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony based on the circumstances. This often depends on who your alleged victim was, whether you caused the alleged victim an injury, and your criminal history.
If you are charged with committing battery against a police officer or another professional protected by the law, you face up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine for a misdemeanor offense. However, if that protected individual got hurt, or you knew (or should have known) the person was an on-duty officer, then prosecutors might charge you with a felony. If You face up to three years in county jail, and fines reaching $10,000.
Aggravated battery is also considered a wobbler. For aggravated battery when the victim suffers serious bodily injury, a misdemeanor can be punished with up to one year in jail and fines reaching $1,000, while a felony could be penalized with up to four years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are convicted of simple or aggravated battery, you can expect to be penalized with more than incarceration, probation, and fines. The effects of a misdemeanor or felony offense, particularly one including violent conduct, can be challenging to overcome.
In most cases, you will have a permanent criminal record. This will come up on background checks by potential employers, landlords, colleges, and lenders. This makes obtaining a job, apartment, education, professional license, or loan difficult.
A misdemeanor or felony conviction could impact your immigration status. Your visa renewal, application for permanent residency, or naturalization could be denied.
A conviction could lead your children’s other parent to seek more custody and try to deny you visitation.
Additionally, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor battery offense, California law bans you from owning a firearm for a time period of 10 years. If you’re convicted of a felony, however, federal law bans you from firearm ownership for the rest of your life.
Defending Against Accusations of Battery
If you are being accused committing battery, you should call an attorney right away. You should have a lawyer by your side as soon as possible to analyze the facts of the case and determine the strongest defense. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer might initially focus on having the case dropped or the charges reduced.
If the judge allows the charges to move forward, your lawyer could argue:
- You acted in self-defense
- You acted in defense of others
- You had a lawful justification for your actions
- You did not act willfully
- You did not exert force on another person
- There is insufficient evidence of the offense
Silver Law Firm Can Help
If you have been accused of harming someone or charged with simple or aggravated battery, contact attorney Elliot Silver right away. He understands the worries running through your mind. He also knows you have a lot of questions. Let him give you the answers and address your concerns. He will aggressively fight for you to receive the best outcome in your case.
Call Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000, or use the online form to schedule a free, initial case consultation.