A lot of people use the word assault and battery as if they are the same thing, but in fact they’re actually different. The main difference is that an assault is an action that could cause harm, or an unwanted touch on a person, and battery is the actual infliction, or force, or violence or harm on somebody. Assault, also known as Penal Code 240, is a misdemeanor crime, where you are being accused of attempting to use force or violence to hurt somebody.

Examples of this include trying to hit somebody but the person ducked, or throwing an object at somebody but not actually making contact with the person, using that object. Battery, on the other hand, also known as Penal Code 242, means that you actually did have contact using force or violence. The sentence or the punishment for both assault and battery is up to six months in jail, and also up to a $1000 fine.

If the assault or the battery is on a public official, like a police officer, the charges could be made as a felony, which carries a more serious punishment. These charges can also become a felony if there is great bodily injury involved. A common question that we get asked are, “What are some of the defenses to assault and battery?” The main ones include self defense, or defense of others, you didn’t act willfully, or you didn’t intend to hurt somebody, or you were falsely accused.

Each case is different, and really depends on who the alleged aggressor is, who you are, who the supposed victim is, and whether or not there was a prior relationship between you two, whether there were alcohol or drugs involved, or whether the crime stems from jealousy, revenge or anger. Each fact and each case is different. To see how the law applies to you, call an experienced criminal defense attorney to see what can be done to protect your reputation and your liberty, and to defend your case in court. Thanks for listening.