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People frequently use the terms assault and battery interchangeably when referring to various violent criminal offenses. However, these two terms represent separate crimes under the California Penal Code.

Importantly, you can face charges of assault or battery even when another person suffers no injury. The only requirement is that an alleged offender offensively touched another person. When an assault or battery involves injuries, the prosecutor can subject you to enhanced criminal charges.

If you face criminal charges of any kind, contact a Long Beach assault or battery lawyer immediately. At Chudnovsky Law, we provide a zealous defense to every client we represent and are standing by to protect your rights.

Why You Should Choose Chudnovsky Law?

Chudnovsky Law gives you an award-winning team of former district attorneys, prosecutors, and experienced criminal defense attorneys with over 75 years of experience. We have handled more than 8,000 cases and trials.

Tsion Chudnovsky boasts two decades of legal practice, earning recognition as a ‘Top 100 Trial Lawyer’ from The National Trial Lawyers. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, and Amharic.

With over 30 years of experience, former prosecutor Robert K. Weinberg has managed over 5,000 cases and over 100 jury trials. He speaks Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, and Portuguese.

Suzanne M. Crouts has accumulated over twenty years of experience, successfully overseeing more than 1,600 cases, trials, and hearings, resulting in numerous acquittals and reduced charges. David A. Stein regularly defends professional license holders in California, such as physicians, nurses, and dentists, as well as providing criminal defense for noncitizens.


What are Assault and Battery in California?

California Penal Code § 240 defines an assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. California Penal Code § 242 establishes battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

In other words, assault is a crime where a person attempts to physically injure another person. It does not require any actual physical contact or injury. Battery involves inflicting force or violence on another person, although a victim does not have to experience pain or injury.

California Penal Code § 243 establishes enhanced criminal offenses for cases of aggravated battery and sexual battery. These situations can include battery committed against a peace officer, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, security officer, custody assistant, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, or search and rescue member engaged in the performance of their duties, or battery committed against a spouse (which is known as a domestic battery).

California Penal Code § 245 further establishes the crime of assault with a deadly weapon, firearm, machine gun, semi-automatic firearm, or any other deadly weapon or instrument, and any means of force likely to produce significant bodily injury. California Penal Code § 368 establishes crimes against elders, dependent adults, and persons with disabilities.

Potential consequences of assault and battery convictions

Many assault crimes in California are known as simple assaults, but certain offenses can be wobblers, meaning they may face charges as either misdemeanors or felonies.

A wobbler assault case can include:

  • Assault against a custodial officer.
  • Assault against a school district police officer.
  • Assault against a juror or alternate juror.

While most battery offenses are also simple batteries, there are, again, wobblers. A battery can be a wobbler if the offender committed the offense against a law enforcement officer performing their duties, against a juror or alternate juror by a party in the case, against public workers or healthcare providers, or against school employees while they were performing their duties.

A simple assault can result in six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and six months probation. Wobbler assault penalties can be up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and one-year probation, and felony aggravated assault is punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Simple battery is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and six months probation. Wobbler battery penalties can be up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and one-year probation.

When a person commits battery against a law enforcement officer, the offense is punishable by up to three years in the county jail or state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and three years probation. Courts can order alleged offenders to pay restitution to alleged victims.

Assault with a deadly weapon is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Felony charges are punishable by up to four years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Using a semi-automatic weapon can mean nine years in prison, while an assault weapon can lead to 12 years in prison. When a conviction is considered a third strike under California’s Three Strike Law, the sentence is at least 25 years in prison.

In addition to possible imprisonment and fines, convictions can also carry professional, personal, and social consequences. It may be possible that a person accused of assault or battery (especially domestic violations involving family or household members) can possibly face job loss because of their arrests, as employers can terminate employees for criminal offenses even when a court has not convicted them.

What are your rights after an arrest for assault and battery?

Lawyer for Assault and Battery in Long Beach

All people whom the police have accused of an alleged criminal offense have the right to remain silent because the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents people from being compelled to give testimony that can incriminate them. The Fourth Amendment further gives people the right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures of their property.

People have the right to ask question when hiring criminal defense attorney and a lawyer will be provided to an alleged offender when they cannot afford to hire their own. The state cannot deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Following an alleged assault or battery, you have the right to know the police are arresting you and the charges against you. Police officers may read alleged offenders their Miranda rights, which relate to the right to remain silent, anything a person says being used against them in court, having the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before the police ask questions, the right to have a lawyer with a person during questioning, and the right to stop answering at any time.

People also have the right to a reasonable bail or bond unless law enforcement has charged them with a capital crime. When a person enters a courtroom to address criminal charges, they are entitled to a presumption of innocence, as a prosecutor will have the burden of proving a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Do you always need an assault and battery defense attorney?

Assault and battery cases are not always clear-cut, so there can be many variables that impact charging decisions and can also affect possible defenses in these cases. Any person who is facing an assault or battery charge should immediately retain an experienced assault and battery defense attorney so they can have the best chance of possibly getting their criminal charges reduced, dismissed, or obtaining an acquittal at trial.

When you hire a lawyer to handle your case, they can conduct their own independent investigation into the incident that led to the criminal charge. An attorney can preserve all the evidence that helps defend you against criminal charges.

When a prosecutor does not have a robust case against an alleged offender, a lawyer can negotiate a plea bargain that tremendously reduces the penalties associated with a guilty plea. Should a person be adamant about their innocence, then an attorney can take the case all the way to trial and represent the alleged offender in court.

You should always work with a criminal defense lawyer when you are facing these kinds of charges, as many people who enter courtrooms by themselves inadvertently agree to give prosecutors everything they seek. It is not advisable to negotiate your own plea bargain, as an attorney will have a far better understanding of all the issues at play in your case.

Possible defenses to an assault and battery charge

There can be many different defenses to either assault or battery charges.

Some of the more common examples include:

  • False accusations. A person may face a simple assault charge despite no sign of injury. People will want to be sure that they have an experienced attorney on their side who can call the alleged victim’s credibility into question in these cases. It is important to keep in mind that a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Lack of evidence. There can be many cases of assault or battery in which a prosecutor has very little evidence that anyone has ever committed a crime. A lawyer will know how to use the discovery process to see what evidence a prosecutor has, and any lack of compelling evidence can create an opening to seek an agreement to reduce criminal charges or dismiss them entirely.
  • Self-defense. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 505 establishes that a person acted in lawful self-defense or defense of another if they reasonably believed that they or another party were in imminent danger of being killed or suffering significant bodily injury, reasonably believed that the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend against that danger, and used no more force than was reasonably required to defend against that danger.
  • Acting willfully. An assault or battery must result from an alleged offender’s willful conduct, so a prosecutor cannot seek a conviction in a case in which a person acted accidentally. People who did not act with intent can often use this defense.
  • Consent. Assault or battery can be charged in certain situations in which people believe that their actions were appropriate for the circumstances. These kinds of charges may arise from private sexual encounters, and the matter of consent can be disputed.
  • Mistaken identity. When there was definitely an assault or battery offense, there is always the possibility that the alleged offender taken into custody was not the actual person who committed the criminal act. Any person who police have wrongly identified as being a perpetrator will want to be sure they are working with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can investigate the case and possibly assist law enforcement in determining the actual offender.

You should also know that intoxication and provocation will not be defenses against assault or battery charges. Assaults or batteries committed while people are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs are still crimes, and people who respond to the actions of others can still face criminal charges, although prosecutors may reduce some charges when there is provocation involved.

Learn More From Our Long Beach Assault and Battery Defense Attorneys

Were you arrested for assault or battery in the greater Long Beach area of California? You must retain legal counsel as soon as possible, and Chudnovsky Law has over 75 years of combined experience representing people facing all kinds of criminal charges in California. We build strong defenses for clients facing a wide range of criminal charges, including all types of assault and battery offenses.
Our firm understands how stressful assault and battery charges can be for most people, and we will work closely with you to help minimize the possible consequences you will face. We put our resources and relationships in the criminal justice system to work in every case we handle. Do not wait to call (562) 800-4080 or consult our Long Beach criminal defense attorneys online to take advantage of a free consultation.

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