Under California Penal Code Sections 240 and 242, assault and battery are defined and criminalized. PC § 240 defines "assault" as the attempt to unlawfully inflict bodily harm on another person. PC § 242 defines "battery" as carrying an assault to the point of physical contact, regardless of whether serious injury or any injury was inflicted.
Assault is normally a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in county jail. Battery may also be a misdemeanor carrying a $2,000 fine and 6 months jail time, but if serious injury or death was inflicted or if battery is committed against a police officer or medical worker, it could be a felony with much more severe sentencing.
Common defenses we use against assault and battery include:
- Defense of self of others, if "excessive force" was not used
- You did not act "willfully," meaning it was an accident
- Reasonable disciplinary rights of parents
- False accusation or misidentification