Does Assault Differ from Battery in California?


Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich

In the state of California, assault and battery are two different crimes. This does not mean, however, that someone cannot be charged with both assault and battery. Having both charges can be confusing for some individuals, so here is a bit of information to dispel misunderstandings about assault and battery.

What is Assault?

In the state of California, assault is defined as the unlawful attempt to violently injure another person. Assault can also be defined as an attempt to commit battery. In order to prove assault, the accusing party must prove that the accused intended to commit battery but will not have to show that physical contact was actually made.  Assault charges can be elevated and become more severe as well. If a weapon or other aggravating circumstance is used with the intention to cause violent injuries to another person, assault charges could be elevated to aggravated assault. You can also be charged for aggravated assault if it’s found you acted with the intent to commit a felony, such as rape or murder.

What is Battery?

Battery, on the other hand, is defined under California state law as the force or violence used against a person. The accusatory party will be required to prove that the accused willfully made physical contact with another person. There are various levels of severity for battery and California’s laws go into detail regarding battery not only against civilians, but also:

  • Police Officers
  • EMS
  • Firefighters
  • School Employee

California also has separate laws addressing battery in cases of domestic violence. Like assault, battery can also be elevated to more severe charges. If a weapon was used during the battery, charges could be changed to aggravated battery. You can also be charged with aggravated battery if it’s found you acted with the intent to commit a felony like murder.

While charges for assault and charges for battery are different from one another, you can be charged with both assault and battery in California. It is recommended that those accused of assault and battery  contact a criminal defense attorney. The experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich will work to protect your rights in court.

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