Assault & Battery

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