The California Penal Code established an aggravate type of battery, it is called battery causing serious bodily injury. Under the section 243, subdivision (d) of the California Penal Code, defines that when a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted victim, the punishment is going to be aggravated.

In order to establish a conviction of battery with serious bodily injury, the penalty is going to be aggravated when:

One person willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another in a harmful or offensive manner. The victim suffered a serious bodily injury as a result of the unlawful touching.

Let's explain in details those elements of battery causing serious bodily injury 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.

Battery Elements

The battery causing serious bodily injury is an aggravate type of simple battery. So, all the elements of battery (touch, wilfully and harmful manner) must be fulfill in order to applied this penalty.

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 the victim consider 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.


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.1

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.2

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.

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.

Serious Bodily Injury

The main element of battery causing serious bodily injury is the requirement that the victim suffered a serious bodily injury as a result of the unlawful touching. The courts defined a serious bodily injury as a serious impairment of physical condition3 , may include but not limited to: (a) "a loss of consciousness; (b) a concussion; (c) a bone fracture; (d) the protracted loss or impairment of function of a bodily member or organ; (e) a wound requiring extensive suturing; or (f) a serious disfigurement."4 17 CALCRIM 945

But under California aggravated battery law is whether a given injury is actually a serious bodily injury is always a question for the jury to decide in each individual case.17CALCRIM 925


The offense of assault on public official can be charged as either misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of each case. That is called wobbler in California, the prosecution has a option to charge the defendant with both crimes.

The California Penal Code defines that "an assault on specified governmental officers, in retaliation for or to prevent the performance of victim's official duties, must be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 1 year or by imprisonment. "5 Thus, misdemeanor assault on a public official is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or both the fine and imprisonment.

However, if someone was charged as a felony, the penalties could be aggravate depending on the facts of the case, a felony is punishable by a fine not exceeding 10 thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in county jail not from two (2) year to four (4) years, or both the fine and imprisonment. Additionally, the judge could sentence a felony probation

If the victim had suffered great bodily harm from the defendant's actions and conduct, the defendant could face an aggravated felony punishment. In California, Courts have already decided that great bodily harm refers to significant or substantial injury, in which does not refer to trivial or insignificant injury. In order for someone to be convicted of elder abuse, it does not need to occur a great bodily harm on the victim, however, if that happened, the defendant will face a severe penalty for the injury committed.

If the prosecution could prove the serious bodily injury and the jury found that the victims suffered injury from the defendant's conduct, the punishment could be increased an additional from three (3) years to six (6) years of imprisonment.

Legal Defense

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. 6Further, self- defense is different than mutual combat.


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.