Battery Defense Attorney for Torrance and Redondo Beach
Battery, like assault, is a term that gets used rather broadly in general conversation, but it has a specific legal meaning here in California.
Traditionally, battery referred to any “harmful or offensive touching” of another person. But that definition is not the law here in California. In California, simple battery is defined as “is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” The not-quite-accurate way to sum that up: battery is the act striking or hitting another person in some way, with some (albeit minimal) force. Simple battery, defined in Penal Code section 242, is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison.
However, from there, things get much, much more complicated. The severity of the punishment for any given battery offense can be increased substantially, depending on
- who the victim happens to be,
- and how badly the victim is injured.
There are numerous “special” laws written to protect classes of individuals from battery by increasing the punishment for anyone who batters that type of person.
Spousal or Domestic Battery
Some of these special types of victims are obvious: battering anyone who is a “spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship,” can be subjected to increased penalties. (Those are laid out in Penal Code section 243(e).) There are a multitude of additional penalties and special rules that apply to what we generally refer to as “domestic violence” battery.
Other Battery Charges
However, other “special categories” of victims are less obvious. For instance, if you batter a sports official in connection with that person doing his or her duties as an official, your potential punishment can double. In other words, no matter how badly he or she misses the foul against your little Johnny or Susie, don’t punch out that referee! You may think the ref has it coming, but the law sees that referee as deserving of special protection, and you’ll be accused of a Penal Code 243.8 battery, rather than the normal offense.
Penalties can also be enhanced when the alleged victim of the battery suffers what the law considers a ‘serious bodily injury.’ When that happens, battery transforms from a misdemeanor with a six-month maximum to a felony punishable by up to four years in the county jail. But then, you might ask, what is a “serious” bodily injury? How can the prosecution prove that the alleged victim suffered one? It takes an experienced, qualified attorney to help ensure that you are given the best possible defense in this regard.
Contact Us Today
As you can see, there really isn’t any such thing as a “simple” battery case– the multitude of statutes, punishments, possible defenses, and complications which arise in any given battery case mean that having the right lawyer can make all the difference in the world. If you or your loved one is accused of a battery offense, or any other crime, please call and schedule your free consultation appointment today.