Los Angeles Battery Lawyer

Pen. Code Sec. 240-245

Crimes of violence are charged in different ways, depending on the nature of the injury, and the nature of the “force likely” to produce an injury.  The following points should be kept in mind if you or a loved one is charged with Battery, or seeking the aid of a Battery Lawyer Los Angeles.
  • Assault is technically an attempted battery. It may be charged along with the battery, although you cannot be convicted of both since the attempt “merges” with the completed crime.  The act is sometimes charged in this manner so that if the actual battery is not proved, an attempt to do so may still be found.
  • Battery and Assault are misdemeanors, carrying a maximum jail sentence of 6 months. This increases to a year if the battery is on a public official.
  • Battery is still a misdemeanor if “Great Bodily Injury” is charged, however, the jail time increases to 1 year.
  • Aggravated Assault is the same charge as Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and is simply a battery committed with “force likely” to cause serious bodily injury. It is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
  • Because of the nuances in this crime, an application of force to another that results in great harm may be a misdemeanor, whereas force against another that does not result in harm may be charged as a felony – if the force used was “force likely” to result in great harm.
  • A “Great Bodily Injury” enhancement may also be charged, depending on the actual injury, adding several more years of incarceration to the penalty. Such an enhancement does not require a life-threatening injury as you might imagine.  An injury beyond “mild or moderate” harm is enough.
  • Domestic Battery (PC 243(e)(1)) is a lesser form of Domestic Violence and will require a keep away order and 1 year of DV classes (see page on Domestic Violence).
  • Self defense, or “defense of another” is a common defense to this crime. It is an “affirmative defense” meaning the force used is not disputed, only the circumstances which triggered it.  In other words, “I had to do it to avoid injury to myself or someone else.”  It must be remembered that this is a trial defense and often not worth much in negotiations with a prosecutor who is relying solely on the police report.  Any bad or aggressive acts by the victim, however, may be considered by the prosecution in a plea negotiation, along with other facts and circumstances of the case.
  • Voluntary intoxication is never a defense to this or any other crime. However, when presented as mitigation, a voluntary outpatient/inpatient program, or AA/NA meeting attendance, can often reduce the jail sentence in a more serious case.
  • Mayhem is malicious disfigurement of another.  (PC 203) This is an extreme form of Battery where force is used to intentionally cause a permanent, or disabling injury.  Mayhem carries a prison term of up to 8 years.  If the charge is Aggravated Mayhem, the term is life with the possibility of parole after 7 years.  What makes it aggravated?  If there is “extreme indifference” to the victim.
  • Torture is the intentional infliction of cruel and extreme pain on another causing serious bodily injury. (PC 206) This is also a life sentence punishment, but is very precise in the definition in which the act must be done for one of 4 purposes: Extortion, revenge, persuasion, or any “sadistic” purpose.  The problem with this and the Aggravated Mayem is that the jury is not allowed to know the punishment of crimes they are deciding.  A defendant who may be given a “mid-term” of 4 years for Mayhem, gets life if the jury believes the defendant was “extremely indifferent” to the victim, irrespective of the injury.  Thus the prosecution has a lot of leverage to negotiate a plea bargain with a life sentence hanging in the balance.
Contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Peter Sebastian if you or a loved one has been charged with Battery/Assault or any violent crime.  The consultation is free of charge, and Mr. Sebastian will be glad to discuss your case and tell you what your options are.