Battery is the unlawful use of force or violence on another. In order to be guilty of battery an individual must willfully touch someone in a harmful or offensive manner. Someone acts willfully when they act willingly or on purpose. The slightest touching can be a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way. Self defense or the defense of another are defenses to battery. However, it is not a defense if the individual is responding to an act that was not a threat or an attempt to inflict injury even if it provoked the individual. Words alone, no matter how offensive, are not an excuse for committing battery.
The reasonable discipline of a child is also a defense. However, if bruises are present, the district attorney’s office can file charges against a parent for disciplining their child.
Battery is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for batter is 6 months in the county jail and a $2000 fine.
If a battery is committed against a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer or animal control officer whether on or off duty, the maximum punishment is 1 year in the county jail and a fine of $2000.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will suggest many ways to approach battery charges. One of these approaches might be to have the individual who is charged with assault attend anger management classes before going to court. After completion of these classes, the district attorney’s office might be more likely to either reduce the charges or dismiss the case. If alcohol is involved, AA meetings might be in order. If drugs are involved, NA meetings or some form of drug rehabilitation might be recommended. Any or all of these things could be helpful in the resolution of a battery case.
Ms. Bass has handled many of these cases over the years and in many cases the district attorney’s office either reduced the charges or dismissed the cases.