The statute defines battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. The uses of force against another person does not mean to be violent or severe. Also, to qualify the battery, the act does not need to cause bodily harm, pain or injury to the victim. However, any harmful or offensive touching satisfy as an unlawful use of force or violence under the statute. 1And any small, slightest unauthorized touching is required to satisfy the element for battery. 2However, if the conduct caused serious harm and injury to the victim, then the defendant could be charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, in which the penalty is more serious than simple battery (PC 243 (d)).
Thus, the main requisite of this crime is just the unlawful touching onto another person, any type of touching. 3Battery is a general intent offense, even if a person does not have a specific intent to touch another and it does anyways, the accidental touching could be qualify anyways.
The force defined by the statute could be directly or indirectly touching. Directly touching could be applied when the contact was made by a punching, kicking, or tripping another person.
However, the unlawful touching could be applied in an indirectly form, as "by forcing a person to jump from a window or vehicle. "4 Also, the touch can be done indirectly as causing an instrument or object to touch other person. The touching with the victim, including the clothing, bag, purse is enough to satisfy the touching of another.5 It is important to explain that words alone, no matter how offensive or exasperating, are not an excuse for this crime.6
For instance, battery in California could be considered slapping someone, splitting someone, threw a drink at another person, kissing without consent, or even poking someone with no consent.
1People v. Dealba (App. 2 Dist. 2015) 195 Cal.Rptr.3d 848, 242 Cal.App.4th 1142
3People v. Dealba (App. 2 Dist. 2015) 195 Cal.Rptr.3d 848, 242 Cal.App.4th 1142
41 Witkin & Epstein, Cal.Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against the Person, § 14, p. 805;
In order for a defendant to be charged as a battery, the prosecution must prove the following elements to the jury:
- Touching another person.
- In a willfully.
- And in a harmful or offensive way.
Let's explain in details those elements of battery for better comprehension. These conditions are essential for someone being convicted of simple, if the prosecution does not prove these elements, a person should not be convicted of assault. San Diego Criminal Attorney will work to prove the innocence of its clients.
1. Touched of another person
The element of "touch" is the most important requirement to constitute battery in California. As explained, the legal definition of battery is "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. " The defendant had to make a physical contact with the victim for being convict with battery. Further, any type of physical contact could be enough to charge another person of battery. The physical touching of another person means by physical contact in an offensive or harmful touch. However, it is important to determine, a present ability to cause a physical contact is crucial to establish a battey. Even a superficial touching could be enough to qualify, so long as the victim considers the contact an offensive touching. Also, the contact could be made in an indirect form, the offensive touching of another person can be applied with the extension of the person, meaning that, anything connected to the victim's person is part of the person, for instance, the victim clothing, purse or any object that represent an extension of another person.
Debbie went to a nightclub to have fun with her friends. Bruttos saw Debbie dancing and suddenly slapped her butt in front of all her friends.
In this case, Bruttos could be charged with battery for slapping another person. This is a type of touching that could satisfy as a battery.
Mario, a freshmen student college, wanted to be funny in front of his friends, as the TA was passing by, he slapped her cell phone out of TA's hand.
Minor's act, like slapping some object out of someone's hands is sufficient use of force or violence to establish the offense of misdemeanor battery, even if the defendant did not directly touch the victim's hand.
The second element that prosecution needs to prove to initiate the battery charge is the willful action of the defendant. A person is acting in a willful way, when the intention is to do something on purpose, when there is no intent to hurt someone, gain advantage or break the law.7
The evidence necessary to proof, is that the person, the defendant, willfully committed a conduct that by its nature will probably and directly result in injury to another person. The prosecution, in a battery case, does not need to prove a specific intent to inflict a specific harm. However, it must show that the defendant intentionally engaged in an act that would produce detrimental consequences.
Since battery is a general intent crime, it requires an intentional act and knowledge of facts sufficient to lead a reasonable person to realize that the act by its nature will probably and directly result in the application of physical force against another.8
Additionally, the term of act wilfully is when the defendant does the touching willingly or purposely, however it does not mean that the individual intent to act an unlawful conduct or hurt someone else.
7CALCRIM 915 – Simple Assault (Pen. Code, § 240). (“Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.
Nadia was having lunch in a restaurant, when Cris, who was sitting next to Nadia's table, started to crying in the middle of the restaurant. Nadia wanted to comfort her, and gave her a hug.
In this scenario, probably the prosecution is not going to charge Radio with Battery, since the unwelcome hug to Cris was not harmful or offensive touching.
3. And in a harmful or offensive way.
It is important to clarify that battery is only when the defendant acts in an offensive or harmful manner, meaning that the contact must be done in a violent, rude, disrespectful or angry way. As stated above, the requirement of battery is the manner of the touch is done, the victim does not need to get injury or harm for someone to be charge or convict of battery. However, if the victim suffered harm, pain, injury or bruise, likely that this evidence could make the case more strong.
Jon forced Clara to the ground, while he touched the victim's outer middle thigh through stocking before he fled with her purse.
Jon could be charged with sexual battery, but he could be convicted with simple battery since he unlawfully used force in a harmful and offensive manner to touch Clara.
A simple battery is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment. (Cal. Penal Code § 242)
A battery is a misdemeanor crime in California Law, if a person is convicted with this type of crime, the crime is going to be on the person's criminal records. If you are looking for a job and the employer does a criminal background check and there is a battery offense register, it is likely that the employer won't hire someone with a misdemeanor background. If you have been charged with assault, you should promptly look for a Lawyer. San Diego Criminal Attorney has a great deal of success defending our clients and we can help you build legal defenses that it could be use to contest these types of charges. If you would like more information, please contact our successful staff to help you with your legal problems.
To contest the charges of battery, San Diego Criminal Attorney would be able to use the following legal defenses:
- The conduct was in self-defense or third party defense:
The self-defense theory could be applied in battery charges if the client reasonably believe that there was an imminent danger of suffering body injury or being touched unlawfully, there is a reasonable believe that an immediate use of force was necessary to avoid the dangers, and the uses of force was reasonable necessary to defend against the danger. 9Further, self- defense is different than mutual combat.
9CALCRIM 3470 - Right to Self-Defense or Defense of Another (Non-Homicide [with respect to acts involving California assault]). ("The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:  The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone else/ [or] <insert name of third party>) was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being touched unlawfully];  The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that
If John was furious and mad with David, since he hit on John's girlfriend. John told David to wait for him outside of the bar. John and David started a combat fight.
In this case, mutual combat is not a defense for battery, here both individuals wanted to enter in a fight and hurt the other.
- There was no willful conduct.
Sometimes the actions of the defendant were accidental or misunderstanding by the victim. Under this type of defense, it is essential that the defense attorney and the prosecution get the entire facts of the accident. If you have been charged with battery make sure you contact an attorney immediately. San Diego Criminal Attorney can help you build a strong defense, if you did not act willfully.
Less charge that is reduced to disturbing the peace.
- Wrongfully accused:
Under the rules of Californa Law, it is too easy for a victim falsely accuse another of committing this crime, sometimes the cause of action is out of anger, revenge or jealousy. However, San Diego Criminal Attorney know how to protect its clients from wrongfully accusations. If this is your case, contact an attorney promptly.
danger; AND  The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.")