Facing any type of criminal charge can be confusing, but when you are charged with battery after simply touching another person, you may be genuinely wondering why you are in trouble. The truth is that you can be charged with battery even if you hardly come into contact with someone but then he or she takes offense. It doesn’t matter if the person wasn’t physically hurt. California law takes violence and willful touching of other people seriously. Seemingly small actions like poking or bumping a person with your shoulder can bring you in front of a judge.
If you have been charged with simple battery, call an experienced San Diego battery lawyer from McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 right away. At McElfresh Law, we understand how difficult this type of situation can be on you and your family. We offer dedicated attention to you and your case to ensure you receive the representation and support you need.
California Simple Battery
California’s Penal Code Section 242 describes a battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. This is a simple description, but situations in which you have been accused of battery can be complicated. It is not always clear if you intentionally used force or performed a violent action toward another. There is often a question as to whether an action was violent. Would a reasonable person think so?
The situation can become even more confusing because the law does not require that the alleged victim of the battery have any injury. In fact, you don’t have to physically come into contact with the victim to be charged with simple battery. Intentionally throwing an object or spitting at the person can amount to battery under the law.
Examples of simple battery include:
- Daniel puts his hands on Anthony’s shoulders and shoves Anthony backward during an argument.
- Alicia throws a bottle at Melissa while out at a bar. The bottle hits Melissa in the head but does not cause a serious injury.
- Matt spits on Sarah after discovering she lied to him.
- Carrie slaps a plate of food out of Brad’s hands.
Penalties for Simple Battery
If you are charged with simple battery, you face a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and imprisonment in a county jail for up to 6 months. Instead of or in addition to jail time, you may have to follow the rules of probation or perform community service.
The statutory penalties for battery can increase if there are other mitigating circumstances, such as whether the action was domestic violence or the willful action was against a peace officer.
Simple battery is a misdemeanor charge but a guilty plea or conviction will create a permanent criminal record. This record will follow you the rest of your life when you apply for jobs, school, and apartments. A charge of simple battery may worry future employers, educators, or landlords that you are capable of violence and result in losing out on important opportunities.
Fighting a battery charge is important for many reasons, but avoiding a criminal record is crucial to sustaining your potential for an education, family, and career.
Potential Defenses to Simple Battery
There are many ways to defend yourself against a battery charge. Your attorney will work with you to fully understand the situation that led to your arrest. Once your lawyer knows the nuances of your circumstances, she will be able to build you the strongest defense possible under the law.
Common defenses to battery include:
- Self-defense: You and your attorney can demonstrate that you because you thought you were in danger and you used only the force that was necessary to protect yourself.
- Defense of another: You can show that you believed another person was in danger of being hurt and used only the force necessary to protect this individual.
- Consent: You can prove that the other person consented to the touching or action.
A San Diego Simple Battery Lawyer is Here to Help
Many innocent people just like you are accused of battery because the law is so broad. Your completely innocent actions can be misinterpreted by others, leading to accusations, an arrest, and charges. It’s an incredibly difficult situation to be in. But you don’t have to give up hope. By working with a skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney like Jessica McElfresh, you have someone determined to prove your side of the story, your innocence, to the judge and jury.
Jessica McElfresh has years of experience helping individuals charged with battery be acquitted or minimize the consequences of conviction. Call her today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a consultation or online.