California Penal Code Sections 242 & 243 - Battery
Penal Code Section 242 defines battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. When the Defendant is charged with simple battery, the prosecution has the burden to prove that the defendant willfully and unlawfully touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner and the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage. The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind. The touching can be done indirectly by causing an object or someone else to touch the other person. It is no defense to this crime that the defendant was responding to a provocative act that was not a threat or an attempt to inflict physical injury. Words alone, no matter how offensive or exasperating, are not an excuse for this crime.
In California, simply battery is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2000 or six months in county jail, or both. (See California Penal Code Section 243a.) In Los Angeles County, some alternatives to a jail sentence for simple battery may include, but are not limited to, fines, community service, caltrans, anger management classes, alcohol or drug classes. Each base fine will also include a penalty assessment which is approximately 4 times the amount of the fine. The defendant may also be placed on probation for a period of 36 months. When a defendant is arrested for battery and taken into custody, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department usually books the defendant’s case as a felony. The reason being is battery can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. Instances where the alleged victim has suffered minor injuries, the case will most likely be filed as a misdemeanor by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office pursuant to California Penal Code section 243a. However, where the victim has suffered multiple or major injuries, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office will most likely file the case as a felony under California Penal Code section 243d.
When the Defendant is charged with simple battery pursuant to California Penal Code sections 242 and 243a, the prosecution has the burden to prove that the defendant willfully and unlawfully touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner and the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else. The defendant does not have to attempt to harm the person. The prosecution only needs to prove that the defendant intended to cause a touching to the victim. As discussed above, if the victim does not suffer serious injuries, the prosecuting agency will most likely file the case a misdemeanor (commonly known as simply battery pursuant to California Penal Code 242 and 243a.) If the battered person has serious injuries, such as major bruises or broken bones, the case will likely be prosecuted under California Penal Code section 243d, commonly referred to as aggravated battered.
In Los Angeles County, simple battery charges (Penal Code Sections 242 and 243a) are routinely filed throughout the several Los Angeles courthouses-, including but no limited to, Alhambra, Airport, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Torrance, Van Nuys, and West Covina Courthouse.