Assault and battery are two crimes that are often linked together. However, they are separate crimes with different elements.
Assault (Penal Code section 240): Assault can be charged when a person attempts to injure someone. Physical contact is not required. Because of this, assault is often thought of as an attempted battery.
Battery (Penal Code section 242): Battery is committed when a person willfully touches another person in a harmful or offensive manner.
To prove battery the prosecutor must show that:
- You acted willfully;
- Applied force or violence;
- On another person.
There are many other types of assault and battery charges in California that can also be charged. These include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon. (Penal Code section 245.)
- Assault on a cohabitant or spouse. (Penal Code section 273.5.)
- Assault on a peace officer. (Penal Code section 243(b).)
- Domestic Battery. (Penal Code section 243(e)(1).)
Generally, domestic violence is thought of as a type of battery crime between people who are married. But, in California, the definition is broader. Domestic violence charges, such as Penal Code section 273.5, may be brought against someone accused of injuring any of the following:
- Spouse or former spouse;
- Cohabitant or former cohabitant;
- Fiancé or fiancée; or
- Someone the accused previously dated.
Great Bodily Injury
California has a sentencing enhancement for cases in which the defendant commits a felony and inflicts great bodily injury on the victim. Essentially, it is an extra penalty that is added to the crime. The penalty under Penal Code 12022.7 is a minimum of three additional years in state prison and, depending on the victim, up to six years.