What You Need to Know About Assault and Battery Charges in California

| Feb 26, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

When people talk about violent crimes, assault and battery tend to go hand in hand. In common conversation, assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing if you are speaking legally. In legal terms, assault and battery are two different charges that describe two different types of actions and two different sentences. It is important to understand what crime you have been charged with and what the consequences of a conviction of that crime would be.


According to the California Penal Code, assault is an “unlawful attempt . . .  to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” This means that you can be charged with assault even if you did not actually hurt the other person — you just attempted to hurt the other person. For assault charges to lead to a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant willingly committed an action that was likely to harm another person and that the defendant reasonably knew that his or her action would result in harm.

In California, simple assault is a misdemeanor, but charges could increase to felony charges depending on the circumstances of the case. If you committed assault on a police officer or public official, or you committed assault with a deadly weapon, charges could be increased to felonies. For simple assault, the consequences include misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.


Unlike assault, battery must involve some sort of physical force or violence. According to the Penal Code, battery is defined as, “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” For battery charges to lead to a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that you willfully made physical contact with another person and that physical contact resulted in harm to the person.

Like assault, there are varying levels of seriousness for the charges, depending on the circumstances surrounding the event. For a simple battery, which is one that did not result in serious injury to another person, it is a misdemeanor. Simple battery is punishable by misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. If you cause serious bodily harm to another person, you commit battery to a police officer or public official, or you commit domestic battery, you could face increased charges.

Contact a San Jose, CA Assault and Battery Defense Attorney

Violent crimes are taken very seriously in the state of California, and assault and battery charges are classified as violent crimes. If you have been charged with assault or battery charges, you need an experienced and aggressive San Jose, CA violent crimes defense lawyer. At the Jachimowicz Law Group, two of our defense attorneys are former police officers who understand the criminal law process from start to finish. Call our office today at our office to set up a free consultation.