Assault & Battery

Assault – California Penal Code §240 reads, “An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”

Battery – California Penal Code §242 read, “A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”

Assault and battery offenses are generally covered under the Penal Code sections beginning at 240.  Simple misdemeanor assault is Penal Code §240 and simple misdemeanor battery is section 242.  Felony assault and battery are generally covered under Penal Code §245 et. seq., assault with a deadly weapon, and 243 et. seq. battery causing serious bodily injury.  Depending upon the facts, both Penal Codesections 245 and 243 may be filed, or later reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code §17(b).

Assault and battery charges are often the most defensible of cases.  It is common place in these matters that the alleged victim either provoked or even initiated the violence resulting in his own injury.  Under these circumstances, the defendant is entitled to a self defense jury instruction that recognizes an individual’s right to defend himself, his property, or someone else, against what he believes to be “imminent danger.”  Furthermore, if the “…defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the danger does not need to have actually existed,” and his belief may take into consideration prior acts of violence or threats previously made by the alleged victim.  Finally, “a defendant is not required to retreat,” he may stand his ground and defend himself and even pursue an assailant until “the danger has passed.”

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