Battery is one of the most frequently occurring crimes in California as nearly every time someone gets in a fight at a bar, school, sporting event or anywhere else, they’ve committed this offense. If you have been accused of this violent crime, it is important you insist on speaking with a Vista battery lawyer as soon as possible.
Differences Between Assault and Battery
Although assault and battery are often mistaken for one another, they are indeed two completely different crimes under California law, each carrying their own distinct criminal penalties. Assault is the threat of force or violence or the attempt to injure someone, but battery is the actual use of force against another person. Assault does become a much more serious offense when a deadly weapon is involved, but when it comes to simple assault vs simple battery, battery is a more serious crime. As a result, simple battery carries more severe penalties than simple assault.
It’s worth recognizing that battery doesn’t always include throwing punches or kicking a victim. In fact, throwing something at someone (even a milkshake) and spitting in someone’s food (or licking ice cream in a grocery store for that matter) are both considered battery under California law.
California Battery Law Penalties
Battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Simple battery that does not cause severe injuries is a misdemeanor in California as long as it is a first offense. In this case, the charges is punishable by up to six months in county jail and $2000 in fines, in addition to restitution made to the victim.
If the victim suffers serious bodily injury though, then the crime becomes aggravated battery, which is a wobbler in California, meaning it can be charges as a felony or misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, it can carry up to one year in county jail. As a felony though, the penalties will increase drastically and you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in state prison and have a “strike” added to your record.
There are some circumstances that can result in even more strict penalties though. First, if the victim was a person performing duties as the member of a protected class, such as a firefighter, police officer, EMT, etc. and the suspect knew or should have known that the victim was one of these protected workers, then the sentence will increase up to one year for simple battery charges. If the victim in these circumstances was injured, the sentence can immediately shoot up to 3 years.
Similarly, if the victim was a romantic or sexual partner, such as a spouse, the crime falls under the state’s domestic violence laws which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail for misdemeanor charges and up to 4 years if charged as a felony.
A Vista Battery Lawyer Can Help You
In many cases, a skilled lawyer will argue that the battery occurred as a matter of self-defense or the defense of others. If he can prove to the jury that your actions were justified, you will not be convicted of this serious offense because defense of others of yourself are both considered fully justified under the law. Remember that what you say can be used against you though, which is why it is best to contact a battery lawyer in Vista as soon as possible so you can avoid saying something that will harm your criminal defense.
It’s worth knowing that sometimes the District Attorney’s office will offer reduced criminal charges in battery cases if the defendant takes an anger management course. If a defendant is proactive at the start of the case and takes an anger management course or goes to counseling, this shows the prosecutors the defendant is serious about changing his behavior. Your Vista battery lawyer may help arrange for you to enter a program that could help reduce the criminal charges you will face before you ever go to court.
Some of the groups of people most commonly charged with battery are minors and security guards, who must walk a fine line in order to perform a legal citizen’s arrests without using criminal levels of excessive force. In these cases it is critical you work with a top Vista violent crimes defense attorney with experience handling all types of legal defenses based on the circumstances of the crime.
If you have been accused of any violent crime in in San Diego County, please call Vista battery attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to discuss your case.
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