A battery offense and other crimes against another person could require an attorney's intervention to help you understand your legal options and prepare defenses to challenge the allegations. While an attorney will not guarantee success on the alleged battery charge, he/she can increase your odds of obtaining the best possible outcome.
Depending on your unique case's facts and circumstances, the prosecutor can file your offense as a simple battery or aggravated battery. This article will focus on a simple battery charge as one of the most common offenses many people can commit unknowingly.
Although lawmakers consider it a "simple" battery, this offense is severe in the eyes of the law and could ruin your reputation and even cost you your freedom upon conviction. Do not wait to begin exploring available defense options if you or a loved one is under arrest or investigation for an alleged simple battery charge in Anaheim.
Our attorneys at California Criminal Lawyer Group are experts in this field, and we can help you resolve the alleged simple battery charge as swiftly and favorably as possible.
How Simple Assault Differs From Simple Battery Charges
You could think that assault and battery are the same because most people use these terms interchangeably, but they are two different crimes in the criminal justice system. According to Penal Code (PC) 242, you commit a simple battery offense when you willfully or intentionally use unlawful violence or force upon another person.
However, a simple assault offense is chargeable when you attempt to apply violence or force against another person. Like a PC 242 violation, a simple assault offense will also attract misdemeanor penalties under PC 240.
Examples of Instances that Can Attract Simple Battery Charges Under PC 242
A simple battery offense can arise from situations or instances you never expect could lead to criminal charges. Below are common instances that could attract simple battery charges under PC 242:
- Maria spits on his/her work supervisor for mistreating or being disrespectful to her.
- Winfred throws and hits another man with a stone pebble on his/her head for insulting her.
- Alfred pushes his/her coach with a hockey stick due to a disagreement about an ongoing match or game.
Even if your actions did not cause bodily injury to the alleged victim or accuser, they could qualify as simple battery under PC 242. That is why the crime of simple battery is one of the most common offenses law enforcement officers deal with daily. Many people will find themselves in trouble with the law for PC 242 violation after situations they would never expect were unlawful.
Regardless of the situation that led to the alleged PC 242 violation, it would be in your best interest to hire a skilled defense attorney to give you a fair chance as you confront the confusing legal justice system.
Critical Elements Necessary for a Conviction of the Alleged Simple Battery Charge
Like any other criminal offense, the prosecutor presiding over your case carries the legal burden to prove all elements or facts of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable for a conviction under PC 242. Explained below are the elements of the crime in the alleged PC 242 violation:
You Did Touch Another Person Unlawfully
The definition of the crime of simple battery under PC 242 requires the prosecutor to prove that you did make or engage in bodily contact with the other person (victim or accuser). Even a slight touch or physical contact with the accuser is enough for a conviction for the alleged PC 242 violation.
That is true even when the alleged touching or physical contact occurs through the accuser's clothing or indirectly using an object to touch him/her.
You Did the Alleged Act Willfully
For a conviction for the alleged PC 242 violation, the prosecutor must also prove that you did touch the other person willingly. For the sake of this law, "willfully" means you did the touching or unlawful physical contact on purpose, even if you did not intend to do the following:
- Violate a law.
- Hurt or injure the victim.
- Gain an advantage over the victim.
In simpler words, you do not need to have the intent to commit the alleged simple battery offense for a conviction under PC 242.
You Did Touch the Victim in an Offensive or Harmful Way
The alleged touching or physical contact with the victim or accuser is only chargeable as a simple battery under PC 242 if you did so in an offensive or harmful way. For instance, this could be true if the alleged touching was disrespectful, rude, angry, or violent.
However, it is worth noting that the alleged harmful touching or physical contact could be lawful if you had the other person's consent, for example, in a boxing match. In that case, the court cannot convict you for the alleged PC 242 violation.
Sentencing Hearing and Penalties for Simple Battery Charge Conviction
If the prosecutor satisfies his/her legal threshold of proving the above elements of the crime at trial, the court will convict you for the alleged PC 242 violation. When that happens, a sentencing hearing will occur immediately if the judge has adequate evidence to craft an appropriate sentence upon your conviction.
However, if the judge needs more evidence to decide a suitable and fair sentence for your charge's conviction, he/she will schedule or set the sentencing hearing for a later date. In most cases, the sentencing hearing should occur no later than five days after conviction for a misdemeanor offense like simple battery under PC 242.
During this crucial stage of the legal justice system, you will still need your attorney's legal representation and experience in the court system to help you obtain a minimum sentence when convicted. While every case is different, a conviction for PC 242 violation will attract the following standard legal penalties:
- A jail term of not more than six (6) months.
- Up to $2,000 maximum fine.
- Informal probation.
- Ten-year restrictions on buying or owning firearms.
What an Informal Probations Means After a Conviction for PC 242 Violation
A seasoned and aggressive attorney could provide convincing mitigating arguments to show the court you deserve informal probation instead of a jail term. While any person with a misdemeanor charge could qualify for informal probation, the court will award this alternative sentence mainly to first-time offenders. The primary purpose of informal probation in the legal justice system is to:
- Restore and rehabilitate a convicted offender.
- Protect the public.
If you are an excellent candidate for this alternative sentencing, the court will require you to abide by the following conditions for not more than five years:
- Perform community service.
- Pay the required fines.
- Actively seek employment if you do not have one.
- Stay crime-free.
- Complete an anger treatment or management program.
Violating any of these conditions and requirements will attract a misdemeanor violation warrant, authorizing the police to arrest you and bring you to court for a hearing. The primary purpose of this probation violation hearing, also known as a probation revocation hearing, is to determine whether you had a genuine and valid reason to violate the terms of your conditions, for example, sickness.
For that reason, it is advisable to surrender yourself to the court when the court issues an arrest warrant against you for violating any of the above probation requirements. Surrendering yourself to the court before encountering police officers ordered to arrest you could show the court that you understand the importance of abiding by your probation's terms and conditions.
If the judge finds your argument reasonable, he/she will give you a stern warning and allow you to continue with the informal probation with the same conditions, or he/she could modify the conditions. However, if the judge finds that your probation violation was unnecessary and your arguments are unreasonable, he/she will revoke or terminate your probation and send you to jail.
Aggravating Factors that Could Harshen Your Sentence for the Alleged PC 242 Violation
A PC 242 violation is typically a misdemeanor, but it could attract severe penalties under certain circumstances. These circumstances are known as aggravating factors, and they include the following:
- The victim was a peace officer, law enforcement officer, firefighter, traffic officer, or any other member of a public service occupation actively performing their duties.
- The victim was your girlfriend or spouse.
- The victim sustained a physical injury.
Generally, the aggravating factors present or available in your unique case will determine how severe or harsh your penalties for a PC 242 violation will be upon conviction.
Best and Applicable Defenses to the Alleged PC 242 Violation
There are various defenses your defense attorney could assert on your behalf at trial to challenge the alleged PC 242 violation for the best possible judgment:
You Were Defending Yourself (Self-Defense)
Self-defense is a reasonable and applicable way to challenge the alleged PC 242 violation. If you had reasonable belief that you or another person was in imminent danger of death or sustaining a bodily injury, you could use force to defend yourself or him/her.
Even if the belief or perception was incorrect, you could win the alleged charge if your attorney could prove the belief was honest and reasonable under those circumstances. Self-defense would be an applicable defense in criminal charges, even if you were not protecting yourself or someone you love.
For instance, if you had to push the alleged victim to protect your property, the court could consider this defense argument reasonable for the best possible outcome.
The Alleged Physical Contact Was Unwillful
Recall, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can only be guilty under PC 242 if the alleged touching or physical contact was willful. As a result, the court cannot convict you for PC 242 violation if you accidentally touched the alleged victim.
For instance, if you are in a crowded place and you accidentally hit someone with an umbrella you are carrying, the court cannot convict you of the alleged PC 242 violation.
You Had Parental Legal Right to Discipline Your Child
If the alleged victim were your child, slapping him/her on his/her buttocks would be legal to discipline him/her. Like a child abuse charge, your attorney can challenge the alleged PC 242 violation by arguing with clear evidence that you had a legal right to discipline your child for the best possible outcome.
You Had Consent to Touch the Victim
Consent is an applicable defense to simple battery charges in activities where there is a prevalent acceptance of the risk of battery. For instance, in sports like rugby, football, or basketball, there is an inherent risk of pushing another person.
If this defense works in your favor, the court will dismiss or reduce the alleged PC 242 violation to a lighter offense, carrying less severe penalties upon conviction.
Offenses Related to the Alleged PC 242 Violation
The prosecutor could file and pursue other related charges against you in addition to or instead of the alleged PC 242 violation. Common crimes related to the PC 242 violation include:
According to PC 242(d), you commit aggravated battery when you touch or use physical force against another person, resulting in severe bodily injury. For the sake of this statute, a severe bodily injury could be loss of consciousness, a lost tooth, bone fractures, disfigurement, or any other related injury.
Unlike the PC 242 violation, the prosecutor can file aggravated battery as either a felony or misdemeanor because it is a wobbler offense. Whether the prosecutor will file the PC 242(d) violation as a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the following:
- Your criminal record.
- Your unique case particulars and circumstances.
Below are a few examples of acts or instances that could qualify as aggravated battery under PC 242(d):
- A visitor or customer in a restaurant pushes an attendant, making her break her nose.
- A boy aggressively pushes a girl into a washroom mirror, causing it to break and cut the girl's neck.
- During a burglary, the burglar tightly grabs and twists the victim's arm, causing it to dislocate at the elbow.
When the prosecutor files your aggravated battery offense as a misdemeanor, a conviction will carry a jail time not exceeding one year and not more than a $1,000 fine. However, if your PC 242(d) violation is a felony, a conviction will attract harsher penalties, including:
- A fine not exceeding $10,000.
- Up to four (4) years of jail time.
Domestic battery is another common crime commonly charged alongside the crime of simple battery under PC 242. PC 243(e)(1) defines the crime of domestic battery as the use of violence or force against any of the following:
- A cohabitant or ex-cohabitant.
- A spouse or ex-spouse.
- A fiancé or ex-fiancé.
- Your child's mother or father.
- Any person you are dating or had a dating or intimate relationship with in the past.
Like the PC 242 violation, a domestic battery offense is chargeable and punishable as a misdemeanor. A conviction for a PC 243(e)(1) violation will make you subject to the following possible penalties:
- A county jail term not exceeding one (1) year.
- A fine not exceeding $2,000.
- Informal probation.
If you are eligible for informal probation, the court will require you to enroll in a mandatory batterers' education program.
Sexual battery under PC 243.4 differs from the alleged PC 242 violation and the above-explained related offenses. According to PC 243.4, you commit sexual battery, also known as sexual assault, when you unlawfully touch the intimate (sexual) parts of another individual without his/her consent for sexual arousal, abuse, or gratification.
Since the crime of sexual battery is a wobbler, you should expect misdemeanor or felony penalties upon conviction at trial. Generally, the prosecutor will file the alleged PC 243.4 violation as a felony if any of the following is true:
- The alleged victim was physically disabled or institutionalized.
- The alleged victim was physically restrained.
If your sexual battery charge is a felony, a conviction will carry a jail term of up to four (4) years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. However, when the prosecutor files your PC 243.4 violation as a misdemeanor, a conviction will attract an incarceration period of not more than one (1) year and a fine amounting to up to $2,000.
In addition to the hefty fines and jail time, a conviction for the alleged PC 243.4 violation will attract a lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender under PC 290. Inclusion in the sex offender registry typically means you must keep the local law enforcement officers informed about your whereabouts whenever you decide to relocate or change your working environment or school.
How to Expunge a Conviction for PC 242 Violation
Unless you are still on probation or serving your jail sentence, you could qualify for an expungement under PC 1203.4 if you have a simple battery charge conviction record. An expungement will typically relieve you of all the detrimental consequences caused by the PC 242 violation conviction. For instance, with a PC 242 violation conviction on your record, it could be challenging:
- To secure reliable employment.
- To secure reliable housing or an apartment to live.
- To obtain professional licenses to pursue your dreams.
To obtain an expungement, you must file a PC 1203.4 petition with the court presiding over your case and provide appropriate evidence to show that you are an excellent candidate for this post-conviction relief. Your defense attorney will help you prepare the appropriate forms required when seeking an expungement under PC 1203.4 and file them on your behalf.
Ultimately, the judge will decide whether to grant you an expungement. Whether your presence is necessary during the expungement hearing will depend on the facts of your unique case. Whichever the case, your defense attorney will keep you informed and assist you in preparing for the hearing to increase your chances of obtaining desirable results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Simple Battery
It is not uncommon for people under arrest or investigation for an alleged simple battery charge to ask questions regarding the offense to adequately prepare for what they are up against for the best possible outcome. Below are some common FAQs about the alleged PC 242 violation and their answers:
What Happens After an Arrest for an Alleged Simple Battery Offense?
A police officer can arrest you for a PC 242 violation when he/she sees you committing the offense or when someone or the victim reports you to the relevant law enforcement authority. Whichever is the case, once the police arrest you for an alleged PC 242 violation, they will take you to the station for an administrative procedure known as booking, where an officer in charge will:
- Check your criminal background.
- Record your name and the alleged simple battery charge.
- Take your fingerprints.
- Take your mugshots.
- Conduct a thorough search on your person.
After doing all the above, the officer will confiscate your belongings, including clothes, jewelry, and phones, and place you in custody or a detainment facility before your charge's arraignment hearing.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney After an Arrest for an Alleged PC 242 Violation?
While the court will appoint a public defender to help you challenge the alleged simple battery charge, it is wise to retain the services of a personal attorney as soon as possible.
Apart from being your legal counsel and helping you understand your legal rights, your attorney will investigate your case and prepare the best defenses to convince the court to drop or reduce the alleged charge. Ensure the defense attorney you hire is experienced, reputable, and available for maximum time on your unique case.
Find a Seasoned Anaheim Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
At California Criminal Lawyer Group, our attorneys have several years of experience and the necessary legal expertise you deserve during these stressful times. If you are under arrest or investigation or have a pending simple battery charge in Anaheim, we can help you secure the most favorable result.
Call us at 714-766-0965 and let our aggressive defense attorneys look at your case to prepare the best defenses that can work to your advantage to obtain a dismissal of the entire case or a lighter pe.