Assault and Battery

Assault and battery crimes can carry serious consequences and possible sentencing enhancements. It is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles assault and battery crimes on a consistent basis. Our Criminal Defense attorneys are dedicated to providing the best possible defense. This means conducting a thorough investigation of all aspects of your case including an in depth analysis of the police report, examining the credibility of witnesses and evidence, and evaluating all possible defenses. We will let you know what your possible sentence could be and if any sentencing alternatives are available.


An assault can be a serious offense and may be charged as either a misdemeanor (PC §240) or a felony (PC §245). Assault is generally defined as a willful and unlawful act, which by its nature would probably and directly result in the application of physical force on another person. The defendant must be aware of the act and have the present ability to apply physical force to the other person. The word “willfully” means that the person committing the act did so intentionally. However, an assault does not require intent to cause injury to another person, or an actual awareness of the risk that injury might occur to another person. Moreover, it is not necessary that any actual injury be inflicted; but, if an injury is inflicted it may be considered in connection with other evidence in determining whether an assault was committed (e.g. battery).

A felony assault (PC §245) generally involves any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or with the intent to produce serious bodily injury. Felony assault generally includes aggravated assault charges and sometimes, depending on the circumstances involved, may carry a sentencing enhancement.


Like assault, battery can charged as either a misdemeanor (PC §242) or a felony (PC §243). A Battery is defined as the willful and unlawful use of force or violence on the person of another. It is not necessary that the touching or force be done in actual anger or malice; it is sufficient if it was unwarranted and unjustifiable. The touching essential to a battery may be a touching of the person, of the person’s clothing, or of something attached to or closely connected with the person.

Other forms of Battery include aggravated battery, domestic violence, and sexual battery. Aggravated Battery (PC §243) consist of battery under special circumstances, such as battery against a police officer or pregnant women. Aggravated battery can carry special sentencing enhancements. Spousal or Domestic Battery, sometimes referred to as domestic violence, Sexual Battery (PC §243.4) is a felony. It is defined as the unlawful touching of an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

Assault and Battery Defenses

Defenses in assault and battery cases usually involve self-defense, provocation, and mistake. For example, the California Jury Instruction regarding self-defense states that “it is lawful for a person who is being assaulted to defend himself from attack if, as a reasonable person, he has grounds for believing and does believe that bodily injury is about to be inflicted upon him. In doing so, that person may use all force and means which he believes to be reasonably necessary and which would appear to a reasonable person, in the same or similar circumstances, to be necessary to prevent the injury which appears to be imminent.” This is the Jury Instruction for self defense against assault and is usually the primary defense if the circumstances warrant.

In addition, a person whose life or safety has been previously threatened, or assaulted by [another/others] is justified in acting more quickly and taking harsher measures for self protection from an assault by [that person/those persons], than would a person who had not received threats from or previously been assaulted by the same person or persons.

The Law Offices of Debra J. Rice provides experienced attorneys, highly trained staff, and professional private investigators to make sure that you get the representation you deserve. Please contact us to speak with experienced Assault and Battery Attorneys.

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Rice & Rice, Attorneys at Law

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