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Battery and California Penal Code section 242

Being arrested for battery in California is a serious crime. Most people would never think they could be accused of such a crime.

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However, people go to a bar with friends to have a few drinks. Music begins to play. More drinks are consumed. Then someone pushes someone and people get angry. Then someone throws a punch and a criminal battery may have been committed. When the person went to the bar that evening it never entered their mind they could end up in jail. However, that is what happened and now they facing the possibility of jail time, probation, a large fine and restitution.

If you or a loved one is accused of battery, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. The Battery Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have 30 years of experience in this field, we can bring that experience to bear for you and help you win your case.

How can I be convicted of battery in California?

Under California Penal Code section 242, battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Put simply, the prosecutor must prove three elements to convict you of battery:

1. That you willfully 2. Use force or violence 3. upon another
We will look at these three elements one at a time.

To do something willfully means that you intended to do the thing. It does not mean that you meant to break the law or that you even intended to hurt somebody. In the case of battery, all it means was that you were under control of your body.

Force or violence means basically the same thing when it comes to battery, that you made some type of contact with another. In fact, the slightest touch can be battery where it is offensive-rude, angry, disrespectful, etc.

You would think upon another is obvious-it means hitting him! But for battery, “another” includes that person’s clothing and things that they are touching. So smacking a plate out of someone’s hand is a battery.

What are the penalties for battery?

“Battery”-where no one is severely hurt and there were no weapons involved-is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine up to $2000 and a six-month sentence in county jail. If the person was a peace officer or similar type of public servant, the sentence can increase to one year.

In cases where someone is seriously injured, battery rises to assault with a deadly weapon pursuant to Penal Code Section 245 and may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In this case, along with the above list, the prosecutor will also have to prove that the person was seriously injured by your conduct. A misdemeanor conviction can mean two years of probation, a year in county jail, and a $1000 fine. If you are convicted of a felony, your punishment can mean a state prison sentence for 2, 3, or 4 years, a $10,000 fine, and a strike on your record under the Three-Strikes Law.

What can you do for me?

In all instances of battery, the court can impose lesser fines and sentences depending on your case. While a $2000 fine and six-months in jail is a possible punishment for simple battery, it does not have to be your punishment.

Facing criminal prosecution for battery is overwhelming. The time and stress of being in the criminal court system can wear on you and your family. If you try to go it alone, your job is twice as hard. You have the right to an attorney. The right attorney can mean the difference between jail time and freedom.

The Battery Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will review your case and formulate a defense for you. With over 30 years of experience in the field, we have successfully defended many people facing these charges. We can help. Our experienced team will review your case and take the steps necessary to defend you. We have offices in San Bernardino, Ventura, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County. Call us today at 888-749-0034 or fill out our intake form for immediate assistance. We will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.