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California Assault and Battery Laws
California Penal Code § 240-248 outlines the laws, charges and penalties related to assault and battery charges. Assault and battery cases can vary distinctly depending on the crime committed and the circumstances surrounding the incident. The main difference between the two charges is that battery involves physical contact, while assault only requires an attempt to physically injure another person. No matter which charge you face, the penalties and consequences can be severe. If you or a loved one has been accused of assault or battery, you need the experienced criminal defense the Law Office of James Dunn knows how to provide.
The following information will equip you with a better understanding of the separate charges and their penalties.
What is Assault?
As defined in the California Penal Code, assault is any unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. This means that you can be charged with assault even if you did not make any physical contact. Assault charges have distinct penalties depending on who the assault was committed against. In general, assault is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment up to six months, or both. If assault is committed against peace officers, public employees or military personnel, penalties can be enhanced.
What is Battery?
Battery is the willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. This means any physical contact can result in battery charges, even if no injuries were caused and no physical evidence exists. As with assault charges, penalties can range in severity depending on whom the battery was committed against. For standard battery charges, punishment includes fines up to $2,000 dollars, imprisonment up to six months, or both. Domestic violence, battery against peace officers and other public employees can result in larger fines and longer terms of imprisonment.
Defending an Assault and Battery Case
One of the elements of assault and battery charges that can make charges difficult to defend is the fact that there is a high potential for enhancements, aggravating circumstances and increased penalties. This comes as the result of who the crime was committed against and where it took place, such as schools, hospitals and others. In order to greatly reduce your risk of suffering the maximum penalties, you need an aggressive attorney who will focus on getting charges dropped or greatly reduced.
Criminal records that include assault and battery charges can lead to unfair assumptions about your character. While the firm understands that many assault and battery charges arise from issues of self-defense, others in society view physical violence and crime distastefully. These charges are serious, with repercussions that can negatively impact your future and your well-being. If you have been accused of assault or battery, contact the Law Office of James Dunn as soon as possible to begin working on defending against your charges.