Understanding assault and battery is sometimes difficult. Often, the crimes are charged together. Therefore, many people consider them to be a single crime. The truth is, you can be charged with assault and battery separately. However, battery typically isn’t charged without assault even though the reverse is not always true. Here’s what you need to understand about assault and battery and how you can protect your rights after being charged with this crime.
What is Assault?
Assault is defined as the threat of bodily harm, even if no actual bodily harm occurs. However, the threat must be great enough that it’s considered reasonable for the victim to fear for his life or safety.
What Is Battery?
Battery occurs when a victim has actually sustained physical harm. People often threaten bodily harm before actually committing the act. This is why battery is often charged along with assault.
To Be Guilty of Battery, the Violence Must be Unlawful
Not all violence against someone else is considered illegal. However, to be convicted of battery, you must have engaged in unlawful violence. Here are some examples of violence that is lawful:
- Defending yourself against physical harm
- Defending someone else against physical harm
- Violence used to prevent a crime from happening or stop a crime in progress
- In cases where the victim has consented or has implied consent
- To lawfully arrest someone if you are a police officer
The Burden of Proof is on the Prosecution
As with any criminal case, in order for a conviction, the prosecution must prove several things. These include, but are not limited to:
- Violence was indeed inflicted upon another person (or in the case of assault, serious threats were made against the victim)
- The violence used was unlawful, meaning that it was either reckless or intentional. E.g, reckless battery may occur if a person was drinking to excess and engaged in a bar fight where someone was seriously hurt. The battery may not have been intentional, but drinking to excess in such a way that it caused the defendant to become violent can be considered reckless
Contact a California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been charged with assault and/or battery, you could be facing stiff criminal penalties. Stand up for your rights under the law with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact us today by calling (626) 792-1900.