The state of California has laws prohibiting people from touching others without effective consent. Violation of these laws by exerting willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another is known as battery. The crime is classified as a misdemeanor, but it can be enhanced to a felony depending on the circumstances of the case.

It’s unfortunate, but every year people are wrongfully charged with battery. The statute for the crime is so vague that just touching someone in an offensive way could result in criminal charges. Even if no one is hurt mentally or physically by the act. That is why we highly suggest you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’re facing battery charges.

Defense Attorney Explains California Battery Law in Ventura

Battery, while usually nonviolent, is considered an assaultive offense. Having a conviction of it on your record could cause you to lose professional and personal opportunities you planned for the future. For these reasons, it’s within your best interest to contact an experienced attorney such as Jay Leiderman Law.

Jay Leiderman of Jay Leiderman Law has spent not one, but two decades as a defense attorney. His work in both the public and private sector means he has seen and participated in thousands of hours trail. Call us now at (805) 654-0200 to set up your first consultation today. Jay Leiderman Law has offices in Ventura California, but accepts clients in surrounding areas such as Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ojai, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Oak Park, Piru, Solvang, Isla Vista, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Bulleton, and Van Nuys.

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What is Battery on a Person in California?

Simple battery in California is defined under the California Penal Code Section 242. There you can find the elements the prosecution must prove if they want to convict you of battery. These elements can be found listed below:

  • You willfully and intentionally touched another person; and
  • The touch was considered to be harmful or offensive; and
  • You were not in the act of self-defense, defending someone else, or disciplining a child

The prosecutor must prove all of these elements above to obtain a conviction. The statute is so loose and vague, that often people are charged with battery for minor instances that would not harm anyone. For instance, if you were mad at another person and spit in their face, they could file a complaint for battery. Even though there was slight touching, if any, you could still be susceptible to criminal charges.

It’s important to note you can be charged with battery by touching someone’s clothing or by touching them indirectly. That means if you use an object to “touch” the victim and the victim believes that’s harmful or offensive, you could be charged with battery.

Instances of battery can also include offensive touching of something intimately connected with a person’s body, but not actually a part of their body. For example, you could be charged with battery for forcefully knocking an object out of their hand.


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Assault and Battery in California

It’s common to hear people interchange the words “assault and battery.” However, in the state of California assault and battery are two distinct crimes with separate elements. In California, a person is guilty of battery if they inflict force, offensive contact, or violence on another person. You must physically touch another person either directly or indirectly to face a battery charge.

Assault, on the other hand, is where a person may inflict harm or unwanted touching on another person. A person can be charged with assault without making any actual physical contact. In a way assault can be seen almost as an “attempted battery” charge as the person is about to or might inflict harm but chooses not to or is unable to.


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Is Battery a Felony or Misdemeanor in California?

Simple battery, without any aggravating factors, under California law is a misdemeanor. The potential penalties a person may face for simple battery include:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Summary probation
  • A fine of up to $2,000

If you commit battery and the alleged victim sustains a serious injury, then the judge may reclassify your charge to aggravated battery. You will instead face a charge for battery causing serious bodily injury as well as an enhanced prison sentence and fine. It’s important to note that the term “serious bodily injury” means any serious impairment of the physical condition such as a broken bone or a concussion.

If convicted of aggravated battery, you may face either a misdemeanor or a felony. That is because aggravated battery is a “wobbler” offense. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor aggravated battery conviction is up to 12 months in county jail. If charged as a felony, you’ll face a maximum of up to 4 years in prison.

Committing battery against certain classes of person while on duty will also result in an enhanced sentence. Battery on a peace officer under Penal Code Section 243(b) and 243(c)(2) includes any person working in the following occupations and engaged in their duties.

  • Custodial officer
  • Lifeguard
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Custody Assistant
  • Traffic Officer
  • Animal Control officer
  • Employee of a Probation Department
  • Peace Officer
  • Firefighter
  • Security Officer
  • Process Server
  • Code Enforcement Officer
  • Search and Rescue Member
  • Doctor or Nurse Providing Medical Care

Committing battery against a peace officer is a misdemeanor with a 1-year jail sentence if no injury occurs. However, if the peace officer is injured, then you’ll face a potential felony sentence of up to 3 years in prison.


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Additional Resources

Laws for Battery in California – Visit the official website for the California Legislative Information to learn more about the statute for battery. Access the site to read the statutory language, learn related legal definitions, varying penalties, and other comparable offenses.

Restraining Order Information | California Courts – Visit the official website for the California Courts to read up on information regarding restraining orders. Often after a battery offense, especially if it was a domestically violent, the alleged victim may then file a restraining order. These court orders can really hinder a person’s movements and rights. Learn more about restraining orders and how to fight one if you’ve been summoned to a hearing in CA.


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Misdemeanor and Felony Battery Defense Lawyer in Ventura, CA

If you or someone you know has been arrested for battery in the state of California, it’s time to set up an appointment with an experienced attorney. Jay Leiderman of Jay Leiderman Law has two decades of experience he can utilize for your case. He understands how stressful a violent crime charge can be and knows what defenses are effective in achieving desirable results.

Set up your first consultation with Jay Leiderman Law by calling our office at (805) 654-0200. Jay Leiderman Law is located in Ventura County, but accepts clients in other communities around California including Santa Barbara County and Van Nuys.


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