You got into an altercation with another person, and now you’re facing battery charges. What does this mean for you?
Under California law, “battery” is defined as any kind of “willful and unlawful use of force or violence” against another person. It does not require that the other person actually suffer an injury.
What sort of things constitute battery in California?
Here are some common examples of situations that can lead to battery charges:
- A shopper loses their cool when another person cuts in line, so they push the offending shopper right back out of the way
- A man makes a lewd comment to a woman at a bar, and her girlfriend gets up and shoves him with open hands to tell him to back off
- A would-be patron of a store takes offense to the mask requirement and coughs and spits on the employee trying to enforce the rule
A simple battery charge (where no one is seriously injured, is a misdemeanor offense — but that still can mean up to a $2,000 fine and six months in jail if you’re convicted. If you’re accused of battery against a police officer, an EMT, a firefighter or another public official, however, you could be charged with a felony. If someone did get hurt, you could be facing aggravated battery charges, which carry even greater penalties.
Remember that neither provocation nor voluntary intoxication is considered a defense to battery charges (although self-defense may be an option). If you’re charged with battery, do recognize that the situation is serious. You need to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights.