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California Battery Lawyer – Penal Code 242 PC

A Battery Defense Lawyer From My Rights Law Group Will Work Tirelessly To Reduce The Consequences Of Your PC 242 Arrest

The consequences of a battery crime can be serious and follow you for the rest of your life, especially if you did not respond correctly initially. An experienced criminal defense attorney will defend and protect your rights against a battery charge. My Rights Law have a track record of success. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call (888) 702-8882 or reach out through our secure web form.

Generally, people use the phrase “assault and battery” as if they are one crime; however, assault and battery are two distinct crimes. Assault is an intentional act by a person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. In contrast, battery is the actual contact with a person.

What Is The Legal Definition Of Battery Penal Code 242?

California law defines battery as a willful act and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. Simply put, assault is the act of swinging that puts someone in fear of being struck, and battery is the contact to the person’s body.

What Are The Elements Of Battery PC 242 PC?

The three elements that the prosecution must prove to convict a defendant of battery are:

  1. The defendant acted;
  2. There was an intent to cause harmful or offensive contact on the part of the defendant; and
  3. There was harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff.[1]

A battery will occur simply by intentionally touching someone in an offensive manner. Even if it did not physically injure them, it could still be considered a battery. Suppose, while you are out at a bar, someone grabbed your arm and aggressively moved you. You were not injured. However, this can constitute a battery because the elements were met in the following way:

  1. The defendant acted by touching you,
  2. Their intent was to be aggressive and move you from their path,
  3. You were reasonably offended by the contact.

What Types Of Battery Crimes Fall Under PC 242?

A defendant may be convicted of two common types of battery crimes: misdemeanor battery and felony battery.

Misdemeanor Battery

In California, the punishments for a misdemeanor battery include a fine of up to $2,000[2], imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, or both. Generally, a defendant will only get up to six months in jail. Determining whether the battery is a misdemeanor or felony depends on the severity of the crime and prosecution discretion.

Felony Battery

Felony battery occurs if there is a battery on a police officer or other protected person, such battery occurs when:

  • They commit a battery on a peace officer or other protected person performing his or her duties, and
  • When they acted, they knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer or other protected person engaged in the performance of his or her duties.[3]

For purposes of felony battery, “other protected persons” include:

  • Custodial officers,
  • Firefighters,
  • EMTs or paramedics,
  • California highway patrolman,
  • Lifeguards,
  • Animal control officers,
  • Private security guards,
  • Process servers,
  • Employees of a probation department, and
  • Doctors and nurses provide emergency medical care.

Moreover, an aggravated battery will result in a felony battery charge. Aggravated battery occurred when the defendant committed a battery, and the battery caused a serious bodily injury to the victim. A serious bodily injury results in severe impairment of someone’s physical condition. A felony battery is punishable by custody in jail for up to four years or a maximum fine of $10,000.

What Are The Defenses To Battery PC 242?

There are several defenses to a battery charge that will result in the charges being reduced or dropped altogether.

Inability To Inflict Force

In California, one of the elements of battery is to inflict force on a person. Therefore, if the defendant lacked the ability to inflict force, they cannot be convicted of a battery crime. For example, if the individual in the bar said the person aggressively moved them, but the defendant did not possess the physical strength to physically move them, a battery crime could not have occurred.

Self Defense Or Defense Of Others

A common defense that most people have heard of is self-defense or defense of others. This defense is valid if all of the following occurred:

  • You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm.
  • You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the danger, and
  • You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the imminent danger.[4]

Suppose someone points an unloaded gun at you or a friend. However, you think the gun is loaded. If you attack them in self-defense or to defend someone else, you likely have a solid defense.

Did Not Willfully Act

Another element of a battery crime is willful action by the defendant. If the defendant did not act willfully, they could not be held liable for a battery crime.[5] For example, if you are moving fast and almost hit someone in the face with your hand, you cannot be charged with battery as long as you did not intend to hit them.

Parental Right To Discipline

In some situations, battery charges are brought against parents. However, in the case of battery against children involving the acts of parents, the alleged “battery” is frequently a lawful attempt to discipline their children. As a result, the parent can show that they were acting within their right to punish if they can prove they acted reasonably and not excessively for the circumstances. For example, spanking your child with your hand for stealing is not battery. However, if you injured or bruised your child, then the spanking could be considered excessive and constitute battery.

PC 242 Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for battery in California is two years. A statute of limitations provides the maximum amount of time a charge may be brought after a crime occurred. For example, imagine a battery was committed in 2012 and the charge was not brought until 2015. In this case, three years have passed. Thus, the statute of limitations has run. This means that the charge can no longer be brought, so the charges will be dropped.

Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney In California

If you have been charged with battery, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for representation. My Rights Law are highly experienced. They know the law, process, and prosecution tactics that will help ensure that your rights are preserved and protected. Indeed, the attorneys at My Rights Law have a proven track record of success. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call (888) 702-8882 or reach out through our secure form today.

[1] CALCRIM 960 – Simple Battery (Pen. Code, § 242).
[2] Penal Code 243 PC – Battery; punishment.
[3] Penal Code 243 PC – Battery; punishment.
[4] CALCRIM 3470 – Right to Self-Defense or Defense of Another.
[5] CALCRIM 960 – Simple Battery (Pen. Code, § 242).

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