Assault and battery charges in California result from the intentional or actual injury to another person. With assault, an attacker only needs the intention to physically injure or threaten a victim in a way that makes the victim believe that they’re going to be attacked. In other words, assault doesn’t mean that the attacker actually comes into physical contact with his or her victim. On the other hand, battery is the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another person. Battery means that there was physical contact and that contact was against the law in some way. A victim of assault and battery in California can file a civil claim for damages.
How Can a Threat Constitute Assault?
In California, words alone generally won’t meet the standard of an assault charge. However, the attacker is within striking distance and uses their hand, foot, leg, or even an object to swing at a victim, it is likely enough to be considered assault as it is the action that creates the intention of physical harm.
While in many cases, a battery is a completed assault, a battery still may be committed without an accompanying assault, as in the instance where the victim / plaintiff was not aware that a battery was imminent.
The Identity of the Victim Matters in Assault and Battery
In the State of California, the identity of the victim will play a role in determining how a defendant will be criminally charged and potentially punished. For instance, if the defendant is charged with committing assault against a healthcare provider, school employee, a firefighter, an animal control officer, or a public transportation employee, harsher penalties may apply. So, a simple assault charge that would have been a misdemeanor in another situation could be upgraded to a felony.
With simple battery, an attacker could go from facing a misdemeanor to a felony charge if the victim is an intimate partner, a family member, a passenger of the public transit system, someone on public transit property or in a public transit vehicle, a school employee, a highway worker, a sports official during an event, or on school property. There are other definitions of victims that can cause a misdemeanor to become a felony.
Financial Compensation for a Civil Assault and Battery
In civil assault and battery cases, a substantial settlement or verdict can be obtained even if the perpetrator is not convicted of a crime. The victim can recover compensation for injuries, medical expenses, time taken off work, and more.
For a free, no obligation consultation about your civil assault and battery case, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Dennis Law Group today.