Most of us enjoy spending an evening out with our friends. Yet sometimes, nights out can end in legal problems.
What happens when a harmless night out ends up with you in handcuffs, facing criminal charges for alleged violence toward someone else?
The difference between assault and battery
Assault and battery are two separate criminal offenses in California. Assault is an attempt to commit violence against another person. They don’t need to make contact for it to be considered assault; simply attempting to cause them fear or apprehension of imminent violence can be enough for an assault charge. It is regarded as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
Battery occurs when a person intentionally uses physical force to harm another individual. California considers battery a felony with a $2,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
Both charges can have long-term consequences. You may also face suspension or expulsion from school if still enrolled or the loss of a scholarship. You may also have difficulty securing employment or an apartment due to your criminal record.
Understanding the definitions of assault or battery charges can help build a strong defense. The evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the event is also essential. It may have been a case of self-defense to protect yourself or someone else. Or, there may be a lack of intent to cause harm or accidental contact. Therefore, it’s important to have someone who can evaluate all available evidence and develop the most viable strategy for winning a case.