Battery is a crime that frequently makes the news. For instance, in California, one recent case being reported in national news involves the alleged hate crimes and battery perpetrated by three college students against their African-American roommate.
But while it's common to see reports of battery, and to often see it as one of multiple crimes an individual is charged with, there are still misconceptions about battery, including the following:
1) Incorrectly equating battery and assault
People often think of 'battery' and 'assault' interchangeably, when there's an important difference between the two: Assault doesn't have to involve any physical contact.
With battery, you would have to come into some sort of unlawful violent or forceful physical contact with someone either with your body or with an object (e.g. a baseball bat). In the case of the college students who attacked their roommate, they allegedly tried to put a bicycle lock on his neck in a forceful, unwanted way.
Assault, on the other hand, doesn't require contact. If you throw a punch and miss, and that's the end of the altercation, you could still be charged with assault.
2) Thinking that battery only involves serious physical harm
The physical contact in battery doesn't have to cause great harm. For instance, you could shove someone and not leave so much as a scratch or bruise on them, and still get charged with battery.
There's a special category of battery, aggravated battery, which specifically deals with cases involving serious bodily injury; this could include broken bones or knocking someone out unconscious.
3) Incorrectly assuming that battery won't get you a lengthy jail sentence
Actually, depending on the circumstances, it might. Aggravated battery may be classified as a violent felony and may be considered a "strike" under California's "Three Strikes" law.
If you've been charged with assault or battery in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Corona or Riverside, be sure to contact us for a free consultation. We will advocate for you and ensure that the legal system is handling your case fairly. We'll review the details of your case and work towards the best possible outcome.