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California Battery Law

California battery law


If you have been charged with battery in Southern California, you are a facing a criminal charge that could cost you your freedom if convicted. You need to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible—even before you are formally charged if possible. You have an important decision to make about the future. The criminal defense attorney who you hire to represent you will have an important influence on the final outcome of the case. You will want a criminal defense attorney who knows the California Penal Code relating to battery and knows how to analyze the facts and plan an effective strategy to rebut the battery charge.

Criminal defense attorney Steven R. Andrade is ready to review your battery charge and discuss your legal options for resolving the battery charge. Mr. Andrade is a former prosecutor and longtime defense attorney. He knows how to identify holes in the prosecution’s evidence and how to structure a plea agreement proposal that a prosecutor will find acceptable.  He will negotiate aggressively on your behalf. The legal team at Andrade Law Offices, based in Santa Barbara, has handled thousands of criminal cases since the founding of Andrade Law Offices in 1987.

Battery—Either a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California

Battery in the California Penal Code Chapter 242 is defined as any unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. Battery is often thought of in the context of assault and battery. California law draws a distinction between assault and battery and treats the two as separate criminal offenses. Battery is the actual use of force involving physical contact, while assault is an attempt to use force.

Touching, slapping, shoving, or striking an individual in a violent or unwanted and offensive manner can prompt a charge of battery.  You may be charged with battery in California if you throw an object that strikes someone, even if you did not intend to hit the person. You do not have to hurt someone to be charged with battery. A charge of battery may be brought even if the person who is battered is not physically injured. For example, spitting on a person with whom you are arguing can lead to a charge of battery.

Simple battery is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by probation, imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months and a fine of up to $2,000. A charge of simple battery does not involve a serious injury and does not involve a member of a protected profession such as a police officer.

A charge of battery upon a police officer, security guard, firefighter or other public servant is a more serious offense with stiffer penalties as outlined in California Penal Code 243(b). That is because certain jobs such as police officers and peace officers have special protection status under the law.

The length of imprisonment can be up to a year if you are convicted of battery upon a police officer, firefighter, security guard, traffic officer, doctor, nurse, lifeguard, process server, emergency medical technician or animal control officer engaged in doing their job.

If a battery against any person causes serious injury, prosecutors may bring a charge under California Penal Code 243(d) of battery causing serious bodily injury, also known as aggravated battery. Aggravated battery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction may lead to imprisonment of one to four years, depending on other factors.

California’s domestic battery laws found under California Penal Code 243(e) are triggered if the battery involves an intimate partner such as a spouse, former spouse, fiancé(e), person with whom you are living, previously had an intimate relationship or the parent of your child. Any form of physical contact including hitting, grabbing, or knocking something out of a person’s hand may constitute battery.  Domestic battery is a misdemeanor, but if the incident involves injuries such as broken bones or cuts requiring stitches, the offense may be charged under California Penal Code 243(d) as aggravated battery, which can be either a misdemeanor or felony.

Defenses to a Battery Charge

Attorney Andrade has extensive experience breaking down cases involving criminal charges to identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence and developing the most sound defense strategy.

There are a number of effective defenses to a charge of battery.

  • You were acting to defend yourself or defend someone else because you feared that a life was in danger and you used no more force than was reasonably necessary to act in self defense;

Example: You and another co-worker at a construction site got into an argument. The co-worker was holding a tool and he pushed you. You reacted by shouting at him and pushing back, causing him to fall backward. A defense could be made that you were acting in self-defense because you were fearful that the worker was going to attack you with the tool and injure you.

  • You did not touch or strike a person intentionally or willfully;
  • You were falsely accused by an angry spouse or girlfriend of hitting them;
  • You were acting as a responsible parent disciplining your child.

Being intoxicated is not a valid defense to a battery charge. If you are intoxicated and throw a beer bottle and it strikes someone, you may be charged with battery, even if you did not intended to hit anyone.

Contact Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing battery charges in Santa Barbara or elsewhere in Southern California, you will soon learn that the California criminal justice system can be harsh. You need dependable legal guidance to navigate the system. The best defense to a battery charge is having a skilled criminal defense attorney standing up for your legal rights. We are committed to individual rights at Andrade Law Offices.

Attorney Andrade understands how to construct the best defense to a charge of battery based on a review of the specific facts of the case. He negotiates aggressively on behalf of clients. Depending on the specific facts such as whether the alleged battery caused injury, he may be able to have a felony battery charge reduced to a misdemeanor to allow you to avoid jail time.

The outcome of your case and your future are too important to trust to an attorney who lacks many years of experience and a proven track record. Attorney Steven Andrade has decades of experience and Andrade Law Offices has helped thousands of people who have been charged with criminal offenses resolve the charges so they could move forward with their lives.