Definition and Aspects of Battery (PC 242):
Battery under California Penal Code 242 (PC 242) is a commonly used criminal offense that involves any deliberate physical contact against another person and can result in serious, long-lasting consequences.
To establish battery (PC 242) in court, the Prosecution must prove:
- Defendant willfully and unlawfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner;
- The Defendant did not act in self-defense, defending another, or while reasonably disciplining a child.
Under battery (PC 242), the slightest touch could be enough to satisfy the statute if the intent is to be harmful. The victim does not have to be harmed or injured. Additionally, physical contact can be made on something close to a person, and if the person is affected, it constitutes as battery (PC 242).
In the state of California, willful violence against a person is often referred to as ‘assault & battery’ charges, when in fact, assault and battery are two separate crimes, with two distinct charges.
Assault is covered under California Penal Code Section 240 (PC 240).
Examples of Criminal Battery:
A man walks up to a colleague at the office kitchen and tries to engage in a conversation. The colleague is uninterested and begins to retreat when the man grabs her by the arm. Given that the advance is unwanted, even though no harm comes to the colleague, this could be prosecuted as battery.
On the other end, if the colleague is engaged and interested in the conversation and the man grabs his arm as a gesture while telling a story, it does not constitute as battery. Both parties are willfully engaged and consented to the activity.
Criminal Offenses Related to Battery:
California Penal Code 242 (PC 242) related or similar crimes include:
- Assault, California Penal Code Section 240 (PC 240)
- Battery causing serious bodily injury, California Penal Code Section 243(d) (PC 243(d))
- Domestic Battery, California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) (PC 243(e)(1))
- Sexual Battery, California Penal Code Section 243.4 (PC 243.4)
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon, California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) (PC 245(a)(1))
Defenses to Battery:
One of the elements to establish criminal battery is the willfulness of the action. If the act of physical contact were accidental, it would not constitute as an offense on the statute, under PC 242.
If the Defendant acted in self-defense in a mutual struggle between the two parties, and the injuries occurred as a result of the Defendant protecting himself/herself, the case could be dismissed.
Lastly, if a parent is using reasonable force to discipline their child, it would count as a suitable defense against battery (PC 242). On the other hand, under California Penal Code Section 273(d) (PC 273(d)), the parent could be charged with child abuse if the force or use of the punishment goes beyond what most would consider “reasonable.”
Consequences and Penalty for Assault & Battery:
California Penal Code 242 (PC 242) is a misdemeanor offense that could be punished with court fines up to $2,000, probation and/or community service, anger management, or other forms of court-ordered counseling, and up to six months in jail. If the battery is against a firefighter, paramedic, peace officer, or an individual in a similar line of work, the penalty escalates to a year in prison. If the Defendant inflicts serious bodily injury on the alleged victim, the sentence could increase to up to four years in prison and a “strike” on the Defendant’s record. Such conviction would result in a harsher penalty on a future sentence.
Lastly, battery is a violent crime, and if convicted, it would keep the Defendant from taking on certain positions, as well as deter future employers, or even landlords/mortgage lenders, and anyone else who would be conducting a thorough background search.
Criminal Battery (PC 242) is a misdemeanor that can result in long-lasting consequences, including time served in jail and expensive court fines. It is imperative that if you are being charged with battery (PC 242), you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles, CA is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code 242: Battery (PC 242). Book a free consultation today.