Battery is a charge that can be used for anything from the smallest shove at a night club to a serious physical altercation. Unfortunately, it can carry serious consequences no matter how minor the offense was, including jail time. If you or someone you love has been arrested for battery in Los Angeles, you need legal help. It is possible to win a battery case—even under the worst circumstances. Talk to a Los Angeles battery lawyer.
The legal team at Simmrin Law Group is here to help. We built our firm with just one goal: help those who have been accused of a crime. We believe in standing by you and your family and helping you put this incident behind you. We understand how to win battery cases and how to help our clients avoid excessive penalties for a simple mistake.
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What exactly is “battery”?
Battery is any use of force on another person. Under California Penal Code Section 242, there are three main elements of every battery case:
You applied force or violence,
Upon the person of someone else, and
You did so willfully and without any lawful reason.
This means that any offensive touching or use of force can count as battery—even if no one was hurt. This is why aggressive pushing and shoving is often charged as battery.
However, if the battery does cause a serious injury, you can be charged with a more serious battery offense, with much tougher penalties.
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What is the difference between “assault” and “battery”?
Many people use these words to mean the same thing, or even combine them into the phrase assault & battery. However, in California, assault is a separate charge from battery.
Under California law, the difference is:
Assault is the attempt to injure another person
Battery is the actual use of force on another person
Because battery involves actual physical contact, the penalties for a simple battery charge are generally higher than those for a simple assault charge. However, there are many circumstances where both charges can carry more severe consequences, depending on what exactly happened.
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What are the penalties for battery in Los Angeles?
If no one was seriously hurt, you are likely to be charged with “simple battery,” a misdemeanor in California. The penalties for simply battery include:
Up to 6 months in county jail,
Up to $2,000 in fines,
A ban on owning firearms for 10 years, and
The possibility of court-ordered anger management classes
However, if your attack involved a police officer, firefighter or other officer of the law, you will be charged with a more serious offense, which can be a felony in some cases. And, as already discussed, if your battery caused serious injuries, you will face an aggravated battery charge with much more serious penalties.
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What if I was drunk when the battery happened?
Many battery cases involve alcohol or other intoxicants. It could be that things got too heated while drinking and it led to an altercation. Or, you may have done something while drunk that wasn’t meant to hurt anybody at all—like throwing a beer bottle or knocking over a chair. Nonetheless, if it ends up hitting someone, it can count as battery.
Unfortunately, alcohol is no usually a defense in battery cases. This is because California does not recognize “voluntary intoxication” as an excuse from responsibility. In other words, when you knowingly choose to consume alcohol, you do so knowing that it may result in poor judgment and reduced inhibitions, and you are still responsible for the consequences.
That doesn’t mean you can’t win your case, however. Your situation may qualify for the “accident” defense or could be defended on other grounds.
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What defenses can I use against a battery charge?
There are many ways to defend against a battery case, and it is possible to win these cases. Here are the three most common, effective defenses used against battery:
The “accident” defense. This is perhaps the most effective in many cases. Remember that the definition of battery includes “willful” use of force. What if the use of force was not willful, i.e. an accident? If you can show this, you have not committed a battery and you cannot be convicted. This could include a pure accident like a car accident, or an accident where you accidentally threw something at another person when you meant to only wave it at them. It can also apply to accidentally tripping or shoving into someone in a crowded area, or many other cases.
Consent. If the person you committed “battery” against was playing sports with you, or was involved in another high-risk activity, legally they consented to the risk of injury and it is not battery.
Self-defense. In many cases you may have been reacting to an attack on yourself or someone else. If this is the case your “battery” was in self-defense and it is not battery at all—you cannot be convicted. Self-defense claims are complicated and we can help you understand whether this might apply in your case.
What if the other person started it?
If they struck you first, or were about to do so, it counts as self-defense. Otherwise, it is provocation, which is not a justification for battery. In other words, if the person insulted you, taunted you, or dared you to hit them, it does not count as a defense against battery.
There are many other ways to defend your case in these circumstances however. You need to talk to a criminal defense lawyer.
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Don’t take risks with the next six months of your life. If you have been charged with battery, we can help you work through your case and get the best outcome possible. We defend our clients as if it’s our own family member facing the charge—and we offer a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.