Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery

Simple Assault is a misdemeanor and can land you in jail for up to six months and a $1,000 fine. California Penal Code section 240 defines assault as "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another." Commonly, when people talk about assault, they mention "battery" in the same breath, "assault and battery." Although we think of assault and battery as being synonymous, they are legally different. An assault does not require physical contact, but battery does. That's the main difference. Both assault and simple battery are misdemeanors. But batteries, since they require physical contact, have different degrees, some of which rise to the level of being felonies.

The status of the victim of an assault can increase the punishment to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. If you commit an assault against a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, mobile intensive care paramedic, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, or search and rescue member engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care outside a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, these enhanced penalties can apply.

The location of an assault can also result in increased penalties. For example, if you commit an assault on school grounds or in a public park, you face up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. School grounds include any elementary school, junior high school, four-year high school, senior high school, adult school or any branch  thereof, opportunity school, continuation high school, regional center, evening high school, technical school, or community college. (See Penal Code section 241.2.) And if you commit an assault on the property, or on a motor vehicle of, a public transportation provider, for example, a trolley, the same enhanced penalties apply. (See Penal Code section 241.3.) The same goes for assaults committed on highway workers. (See Penal Code section 241.5.) Likewise, if you commit an assault on a school employee who is engaged in his or her duties, or in retaliation for performing such duties, the same enhanced penalties apply. (See Penal Code section 241.6.) Finally, if you commit an assault on a member of the United States Armed Forces because of the person's service, these penalties apply. (See Penal Code section 241.8.)

In two instances, you be charged with assault as a felony. One is if you assault a police officer who is a member of a school district, while performing his or her duties. The other is if you are a party to a civil or criminal case and you commit an assault against one of the jurors or alternate jurors assigned to hear your case. In those instances, you can face up to a year in jail, or face a prison commitment. (See Penal code sections 241.4 and 241.7.)

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.  A misdemeanor charge of assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury can be punished by a year in county jail.  A felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon, other than a firearm,or force likely to produce great bodily injury is punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If a firearm was used in the assault, the punishment is a mandatory minimum of 6 months in county jail, or prison for up to 4 years and a $10,000 fine.

If the assault was committed using a machinegun or a .50 BMG rifle, the maximum prison term is either 6, 8, or 12 years.

If no weapon was used in the assault, the punishment is up to one year in county jail or up to 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If a semiautomatic firearm was used in the assault, the punishment is either 3, 6, or 9 years in state prison.

If the assault was committed without a firearm against a peach officer or firefighter who was engaged in the performance of his or her duties, it is punishable by 3, 4, or 5 years in state prison. 

If the assault was committed with a firearm against a peach officer or firefighter who was engaged in the performance of his or her duties, is punishable by 4, 6, or 8 years in state prison. 

If the assault was committed with a semiautomatic firearm against a peach officer or firefighter who was engaged in the performance of his or her duties, is punishable by 5, 7, or 9 years in state prison. 

If the assault was committed with a machinegun or a .50 BMG rifle against a peach officer or firefighter who was engaged in the performance of his or her duties, is punishable by 6, 9, or 12 years in state prison.

 

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