Assault and battery are often used together, which might lead you to think that the two charges are the same, or, at least, two parts of a single charge. But, the truth is much more complicated than that. While the two are related, and you could be charged with both, they are two distinct and separate crimes.
The Definition of Battery
Battery is defined as the willful, unlawful use of force against another person. This is a violation of Penal Code 242 and must have three separate elements:
- The act must be willful and unlawful
- Force or violence is used
- The willful use of violence or force is used against another person.
In other words, you have to intend to use force or violence, it has to involve another person, but it doesn't have to actually cause any damage, injury, or harm. In fact, you don't even have to touch the body of the other person, in order to be guilty of battery. If you touch anything the is “intimately connected” to the other person, like their clothing or something they are holding, in a disrespectful or rude way, you could be charged with battery.
Examples of Battery PC 242
- You're in a grocery store and get into an argument with your girlfriend and decide to leave the store. On the way out, it's crowded, and you push your way through the crowd because you're angry. You accidentally cause a woman to fall to the ground. You weren't trying to shove the woman down, but you were intentionally acting forcefully, and someone else is involved. You could be charged with battery.
- You're at a bar, having a good time with your friends. Some jerk comes up and starts talking to your girlfriend. You tell him to move along, but he just won't. You start to get angry and knock the drink from his hand. You could be charged with battery.
The Definition of Assault
The crime of assault doesn't require any physical contact. You may heard, or even used, the phrase, “He (or she) assaulted me!” in a situation where someone was actually hurt by physical violence. However, assault is not necessarily an attack of any kind, but merely the attempt to make unlawful contact with the intent of doing harm.
There are three components of assault:
- There must be an unlawful attempt
- There must be ability
- There must be another person upon whom violence or injury was threatened or attempted
“Attempt” means that someone tried to do something; not that they thought about it or wanted to, but that they tried.
Examples of Assault - PC 240
- You are having an argument with a neighbor over the volume of their music. They just aren't listening to reason, and, in anger, you pick up a rock and throw it at your neighbor. The step aside and the rock misses. They aren't injured, but you could still be charged with assault because you intentionally did something that could have resulted in their being hurt.
- You're in the parking lot, having a fight with a friend over money. Other friends are standing by when the other person takes a swing at you. You lean back, avoiding the blow, and your other friends restrain him before he can take another swing. No one ever made physical contact, but he could still be charged with assault because he intended to inflict injury.
Misdemeanor Assault & Battery
The penalties for violating PC 240, or simple assault are up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,000, and up to six months probation. The fines can be increased to $2,000, if the assault was committed against a police officer writing parking tickets.
If the assault is committed against certain health care providers or public workers, it is a violation of PC 241 and can bring penalties of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and probation up to one year.
Penalties for simple battery, a violation of PC 243, a misdemeanor, include up to six months in county jail, a fine up to $2,000 and probation up to six months. The charges can be enhanced if the battery was committed against a healthcare provider or public worker, domestic violence battery, and battery on school property. In cases of enhanced battery, the penalties can include up to one year in county jail, a fine up to $2,000, and probation up to one year.
Felony Assault & Battery
Assaults that can be charged as felonies are violations of PC 241.1, PC 241.2, PC 241.4, PC 241.7, and PC 241.8 and include assault against:
- doctors and nurses
- emergency medical technicians and paramedics
- school employees
- animal control officers
- highway workers
- members of the United States military, if the assault is motivated by the fact of service in the military
- public transportation employees
- probation department employees
Felony assault can be punished by up to three years in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and probation up to three years.
Felony battery penalties include up to three years in county jail or state prison, depending on the offender's history, a fine of up to $2,000 ($5,000 if the victim is a juror or $10,000 if the victim is a public transport worker or passenger), and up to three years probation.
Aggravated Assault & Battery
Aggravated assault includes assault with a deadly weapon or assault where there is an intent to commit a felony such as rape or murder.
Aggravated battery is a violation of PC 243(d) and can be called battery with serious bodily injury or aggravated battery. This is the result of battery that caused serious injury to another person, making it different from simple battery where no injury needs to have been inflicted in order to be charged.
What Happens if I am Arrested for Assault & Battery?
If you happen to be arrested for assault and battery, it's important to remember to STAY CALM! This may be difficult, given the circumstances. But, the more you are able to control yourself in front of the police officers and conduct yourself in a dignified way, the more likely law enforcement is to listen to your side of the story, and take you seriously when you say you are innocent. Remaining calm during the interaction with police can avoid additional, and more serious, charges, such as assault and battery against a police officer.
- Cooperate with police officers, physically. Don't resist them, even if they feel the need to restrain you.
- Speak as calmly as possible, if you choose to answer their questions.
- Don't speak to or yell at the other party in the altercation.
- Conduct yourself in a dignified way, allowing the officers to see that your behavior was only what was necessary for self-defense.
If you are arrested and charged with battery, the arresting officer should inform you of your Miranda Rights:
- You have the right to remain silent – They can't make you talk, other than to provide your name, address, and show some sort of identification, upon request.
- Anything you say can be used against you – If you choose to talk to the authorities, the statements you make can be used against you in court.
- You have the right to an attorney – You can ask to have an attorney present while they question you. If you ask for an attorney but continue to talk to the officers, while you wait for your attorney, the answers you give can still be used against you.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you – If you cannot afford an attorney, but would like to have one, the court will appoint an attorney for you, free of charge.
Can I Get Out of Jail if I'm Charged With Assault & Battery?
Once you have been arrested and transported to a detention facility, you will be booked and informed of the charges. The bail in most jurisdictions in California is set, based on a bail schedule that is posted at the jail. The authorities at the jail should be able to tell you what the amount of your bail will be. If you have the cash on hand to pay your bail, you can pay it and be out of jail within a few hours. You are allowed to use cash or property to pay your bail and get out of jail. You will be allowed up to three phone calls. Use one of them to call Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds at (844) 400-BAIL if you need help getting out of jail fast.
How Can I Get Assault & Battery Bail Bonds?
Often, prosecutors and law enforcement officers will charge you with the most serious versions of the crimes they believe have been committed, even if those charges will be reduced, later on. But, this leaves you in the position of having higher amounts of bail money to produce, in order to get out of jail after an arrest. It is common for people to lack the cash funds to post their own bail. If this is the case, you can call a bail bonds company. They will post bail for you, in return for a small fee, generally 10% of the total bail due. This allows you to get out of jail at a fraction of the cost of paying the full bail yourself.
Who Has the Best Price on Assault & Battery Bail Bonds?
Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds is the #1 bail bond company in Southern California, and they'll work hard to get you out of jail as soon as possible. Mr. Nice Guy's licensed bail agents can process bail bonds for arrests throughout Southern California and offer bail premiums as low as 7%* (the lowest bail bond rate allowed in California). No other bail bondsman can offer lower rates. Call now, or start the bail bonds process online. (844) 400-BAIL (2245)
Some bail bond companies require an annual premium on the anniversary of charges, but Mr. Nice Guy never does that. Once you've secured a bond through Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds, there are no additional fees or recurring charges. Mr. Nice Guy will even work with you on establishing a payment plan for a bail bond, to help get yourself or a loved one out of jail when you're on a budget. It just doesn't get much nicer than that!
Other online services include free warrant checks and a direct link to the most Sheriff's Department databases.
If you need a bail bond in Southern California: if you want fast, private service at the best rates available; if you are looking for professional service, call Mr. Nice Guy toll free at (844)400-2245.