Most often, this charge is filed by the District Attorney’s Office as the result of some sort of physical altercation between two people (Penal Code Section 240/242). Unfortunately, many times it’s the winner of the fight that gets prosecuted, not necessarily the person who started it.
To be convicted of a battery, the prosecutor must prove that a person willfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner, and was not acting in self-defense. There is no requirement that the victim suffer any injury or pain as a result of the touching. Any touching is enough, so long as it’s done in a harmful or offensive manner.
Proving an assault is even easier. The prosecutor basically just has to prove that the person did some act that would likely result in the application of force to someone. Usually in a fight case, the assault is the swing, the battery is the actual contact. Thus, if you swing and miss, it’s just an assault. If you make contact, it’s an assault and a battery.
If convicted of either of these charges, the accused faces a misdemeanor on their record and up to 6 months in custody. If the injuries are severe, weapons are involved, or the victim is a police officer, then different or enhanced charges could be filed. Please refer to our Violent Crime or Crimes Against Police Officers sections for more information about those charges.
Contact Errol L. Cook, to discuss your particular case. Errol L. Cook has years of experience handling these types of cases, and will be able to advise you of your rights, options, and how to properly proceed with your case.