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A battery is the willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another. Simple battery, under Penal Code section 242, is a battery that does not cause serious injury, and is not committed against a protected class of people. In this situation, the battery is a misdemeanor.

Examples of a battery include playing a joke on a person that involves offensive contact, striking another, or throwing an object at a person.


The basic penalties, under Penal Code § 243, for a simple battery charged as a misdemeanor include:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail, and

  • Fine up to $2000


A person convicted of assault or battery is typically required to pay restitution, which means reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling. See Penal Code § 1202.4. The court can also require someone convicted of a misdemeanor to pay between $150 and $1,000 in restitution. Someone convicted of a felony may have to pay between $300 and $10,000, depending on the damages to the victim and other factors.


A California battery carries penalties that are more harsh if the battery is committed against a certain class of people, as found under Penal Code sections 243(b) and 243(c)(2).

This class of people includes, but is not limited to, a:

  • Peace officer (police or other law enforcement),

  • Custodial officer,

  • Firefighter,

  • Emergency medical technician or paramedic,

  • Lifeguard,

  • Security officer,

  • Custody assistant,

  • Process server,

  • Traffic officer,

  • Code enforcement officer,

  • Animal control officer,

  • Search and rescue member,

  • Employee of a probation department, or

  • Doctor or nurse providing emergency medical care.

If the prosecution can prove that you knew or reasonably should have known that you were committing a battery against such a person, but the battery did not cause any injury, then the sentence increases to a maximum 1 year in county jail.

And if you injure one of these specified people through a battery, then the crime becomes a wobbler with a potential felony jail sentence of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years.


Domestic battery, under Penal Code 243(e)(1), is another subset of the California crime of battery that is defined by the class of victim. This offense is found when you commit a battery against any of the following people:

  • Your spouse or former spouse,

  • Your cohabitant or former cohabitant,

  • Your fiancé(e) or former fiancé(e),

  • A person with whom you have or used to have a dating relationship, or

  • The father or mother of your child.

Domestic battery is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $2,000 and a potential county jail sentence of up to 1 year. In addition, if you are granted probation for a domestic battery conviction, you will be required to enroll in a batterer’s treatment program lasting at least one year.


Sexual battery, under Penal Code 243.4, is a distinct crime from simple battery, aggravated battery, or domestic battery. It involves the touching of an “intimate part” for purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse.

Depending on the circumstances, sexual battery can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It may be charged as a felony if, for example, the victim was unlawfully restrained or was an institutionalized person.

Misdemeanor sexual battery carries a maximum county jail sentence of 6 months or 1 year, depending on the circumstances. Felony sexual battery carries a state prison sentence of 2 years, 3 years, or 4 years.

Finally, a conviction for either misdemeanor or felony subjects you to California’s sex offender registration requirement.


Elder abuse, under Penal Code 368, makes it a crime to willfully or negligently impose unjustifiable physical pain and/or mental suffering on a person who is 65 years of age or older.

If accused of committing a battery against a victim who is 65 or older, you could be charged with both Penal Code 242 and Penal Code 368.

This offense is a wobbler. If charged as a felony, it carries a potential state prison sentence of 2 years, 3 years, or 4 years, and a fine of up to $6,000.


Battery charges are by no means an easy walk in the park for the prosecution. There are many ways for a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend a client from a conviction, which including, but not limited to:

  • You acted in self-defense/defense of others

  • You did not act willfully or with the required intent

  • You were falsely accused

  • Consent was given

  • Defending property

  • Parent/ others in a disciplinary role disciplining children


A conviction for a misdemeanor or felony becomes part of your criminal record, which can have a serious impact on all aspects of your life. For example, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence if you are convicted of a crime in a new case. Not to mention, a criminal record, even a misdemeanor conviction, can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.

Furthermore, a convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. Felons who face criminal charges later will likely find that the new charges are more serious because of their prior conviction.

Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and case like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.

The attorney at the Law Office of Brett Parker Davison has extensive knowledge of the system and can begin building a strategy for your defense immediately. We highly encourage you to contact us to schedule a free consultation of your case at (909) 480-8094!

Battery: Practices
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