California Penal Code 240, 242 PC

PC 240, 242 – Assault and Battery

PC 240, 242 - Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery – Table of Contents

Assault and Battery, Penal Code 240, 242 Overview

California defines Assault, CA Penal Code 240 PC, as willfully acting in a manner that would likely and knowingly result in the application of force upon another. While Battery Penal Code 242, CA Penal Code 242 PC, is defined as willfully and unlawfully touching a person in a harmful and/or offensive manner.

Physical Contact

The difference in the two definitions is that Assault does not require any physical contact with another person, while Battery Penal Code 242 does require physical contact with another person. It’s important to note that you can be charged with both Assault and Battery Penal Code 240, 242, but can only sentenced for the greater crime of Battery Penal Code 242.

Both crimes are considered misdemeanors and the punishments are as follows:

Assault – CA PC 240:

  • Informal probation
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Community service
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Forced to participate in a Batterer’s Program

Battery – CA PC 242:

  • Informal probation
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Community service
  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Forced to participate in a Batterer’s Program

Prosecuting Assault and Battery Penal Code 240, 242

Prosecuting either an Assault or a Battery Penal Code 240, 242 charge can be relatively difficult because a lot of the evidence that the prosecutor has to work with is he said, she said evidence. The prosecutor must be able to prove the three elements of the Assault or Battery Penal Code 240, 242 crime in order to successfully convict you of either Battery Penal Code 242:

  1.  That you willfully,
  2.  Touched, or applied force, or physical contact,
  3.  Upon another person.

Was it Intentional?

The first element of the crime that the prosecutor must prove is that the action you took was willful and intentional. In legal terms, willfully means that the action was performed on purpose.

Physical Contact?

The second element of the crime that the prosecutor must prove is that you touched, or applied force. The terms force and violence are synonymous in the eyes of the law. The smallest touch is sufficient for Battery Penal Code 242, arrest as long as the action was performed in a crude, aggressive or disrespectful manner.

The final element of the case that the prosecutor must prove is that your actions were performed upon another. In the eyes of the law, this means that you physical touched:

  1. The person
  2. His or her clothing
  3. Anything attached or connected to that person

If the prosecutor cannot prove each and everyone of these elements then a conviction will not take place.

Defending Assault and Battery Penal Code 240, 242

Self Defense in Criminal Law

There are several techniques that a criminal defense attorney can utilize to prove that you’re not guilty of either Assault and/or Battery Penal Code 240, 242. These techniques include proving that you acted in self-defense or you were defending another, the physical force was an accident, or you had consent to act the way you did.

Self Defense

The most common defense for an Assault or Battery Penal Code 240, 242 charge is that you were acting in self-defense. This technique works if you reasonably believed that physical violence was the only way to protect yourself, or another, from being assaulted or battered. However, your actions are only protected by the law if you didn’t use excessive violence when protecting yourself.

Accident

Your criminal defense attorney can also prove that the physical violence you administered upon another was an accident. One of the elements of the crime is that you willfully apply force upon another. If you did not act willfully then the you didn’t commit a crime.

For example, if you were at a crowded bar and somebody nudged your arm accidentally and you subsequently spilled your drink on another person then you shouldn’t be convicted of Assault or Battery Penal Code 240, 242 because you didn’t intent to spill your drink on anybody.

Consensual

Another technique that your criminal defense attorney can employ is to prove that you had consent to act the way you did. For instance, if were working in an environment where physical violence is inevitable then you shouldn’t be convicted of Battery Penal Code 242.

For example, if you were playing a contact sport and you aggressively tackled another person then you can’t be convicted of Battery Penal Code 242, as long as you didn’t exceed an appropriate level of violence.

If the level of violence is excessive and the victim sustains serious bodily injury then you could be charged with Aggravated Battery, CA PC 243(d). Aggravated Battery is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case and your criminal record. If your case is considered a felony and you are convicted then you get receive a “strike” in accordance to California’s Three Strike Law.

CA Penal Code 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery. The elements of the crime are nearly identical to simple Battery, but the victim must be an intimate partner. For instance, a fiancé, spouse (current or former), a cohabitant, parent of your child, or someone who you’re dating.

CA Penal Code 243.4, Sexual Battery, refers to the unsolicited touching of another’s intimate body parts for (1) sexual arousal, (2) sexual gratification, or (3) sexual abuse. The elements of sexual battery cases are typically very specific and difficult for prosecutors to prove.

CA Penal Code 245(a)(1), Assault or Battery Penal Code 245(a)(1) with a Deadly Weapon, refers to an attempt to assault or battery Penal Code 245(a)(1) somebody with any deadly weapon. In broad terms, the assault or battery Penal Code 245(a)(1) was likely to cause bodily injury to a victim. Assault or Battery Penal Code 245(a)(1) with a Deadly Weapon is a violent felony and may result in a “strike” in accordance to California’s Three Strikes Law.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with Assault or Battery, PC 240 and/or PC 242, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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