Assault and battery crimes often are charged together, but they do involve different elements and may not necessarily require that there be any physical contact. Here are the more common types of assault and battery in California:
There are different degrees of assault including simple assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault with a firearm.
You can be charged and convicted of simple assault if you unlawfully attempted to commit an injury on someone else and had the present ability to do so. You need not have had any physical contact with the victim or have caused an injury, but you must have been aware that your conduct would likely result in the application of force. The force applied need not have resulted in causing pain to the victim but you knew that it was possible.
Examples include a fight where punches are thrown but none land or cause any significant injury, or where threats of violence are made.
Simple assault is generally a misdemeanor, which carries a possible prison time of up to 6 months and a $1,000 fine.
It is possible to charge a simple assault as a felony depending on who is the target of the assault. For instance, threatening or assaulting public workers or healthcare providers who are acting in their capacity may subject the perpetrator to more severe penalties. In these cases, the accused faces county jail time of up to one year, a fine of up to $2000, and one year of probation.
If the simple assault was directed towards a police officer, corrections officer, or juror, you could be charged with a felony even if the offense would normally qualify as a misdemeanor.
A simple assault as felony carries a county or state prison sentence of 16 months to 3 years, a fine of up to $2,000, and probation of 1 to 3 years.
This involves an assault with an object or instrument, not a firearm, that is likely to cause serious bodily harm. An example is the use of a baseball bat, hammer, sharp instrument, rock, bottle, or a car. A body part does not qualify as a deadly weapon unless you use your hands or feet, or mouth, repeatedly to inflict great bodily harm.
Again, you need not have made any contact with the victim, only that you had the intent and were able to do so.
You could be charged with a misdemeanor depending on the weapon used and if any serious injury resulted. The penalty is up to one year in county jail, a maximum $10,000 fine, and participation in a court-ordered anger management class.
This is a felony and carries a state prison sentence of 2-4 years and a fine up to $10,000. You also could receive a “strike.”
This offense includes the unlawful act of shooting a firearm at someone or attempting to do so, or pointing a loaded firearm at someone in a threatening fashion, or striking someone with a firearm.
If charged as a misdemeanor, the accused faces from 6 months to one year in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
If charged as a felony, the penalty is a 2-4 year state prison sentence. If the assault was against a police officer or public worker, like a firefighter, you face a 6, 9, or 12-year sentence.
Your sentence can be enhanced to an additional 1-10 years if you used a firearm during the assault. The enhancement is largely dependent on the type of firearm that was used.
Any offensive or harmful physical contact is a battery. Spitting on someone if done in an offensive manner is battery. Unlike assault, battery requires physical contact although you cannot commit a battery without an assault. The contact can be only to the victim’s clothing or something closely connected to the victim. This would include ramming someone’s car with the victim inside.
This is a misdemeanor with a possible county jail sentence of up to 6 months, a fine up to $2,000, and possible community service along with a batterer’s class.
If the victim suffered a serious injury, you could be charged with a felony carrying 2-4 years in state prison a $10,000 fine, and a possible “strike” on your record.
For any of these offenses that results in a second strike, your sentence can be doubled. A third strike results in a prison sentence of 25-years to life.