Assault and battery may feel like the same thing when you see them appear in a news report – however, they are really two separate crimes. They are both intentional torts that form the basis of a lawsuit being seen in civil court. Below, you can find out the differences between the two and what kind of case you may have.
Assault is any intentional act that is meant to cause harmful contact to another person. This means that a victim would rightfully expect that they would be hurt by an offender. There are several situations that assault would apply to; for instance, a person telling someone they are going to punch them, pointing a toy gun at them and making it seem like a real gun, or accelerating a car to make someone think they are going to hit them with it. The threat matters most in an assault case – not the actual contact action.
Battery applies to a situation in which an offender makes intentional and harmful contact with another person, who is the victim. This can take the form of direct and immediate (someone pushing another person), indirect and immediate (someone throwing a rock that hits someone), or indirect and remote (someone setting a trap that someone else falls into days later). The victim does not have to actually be physically harmed in order for a battery to take place under civil law. All that is required, typically, is that contact be offensive or inappropriate and that it was meant to take place. They are not simultaneous – an assault can happen without a battery, and a battery can happen without an assault.
Assault and Battery Law in California
California has specific laws as it applies to assault and battery. Their laws can be found in Chapter 9 of the California Penal Code, which establishes varying degrees of severity for battery. Section 242 sets the basic elements of a battery and Section 243(d) is used when the victim suffered a “serious bodily injury.” In addition to this, the Penal Code includes specific code sections regarding battery against specific people like peace officers, police officers, firefighters, emergency response technicians, school employees, and more. The type of criminal charges will depend upon the severity of the battery and the circumstances that surround the crime.
There are various penalties and sentences that will apply. For a thing like simple assault, the Penal Code sets a maximum fine of $1,000, which is a maximum sentence of imprisonment in county jail for six months. These penalties can increase to $2,000 or one year of imprisonment. For a simple battery, the Penal Code sets a maximum fine of $2,000. When a battery ends in serious bodily injury, the law in California permits felony sentencing according to Section 1170 of the Penal Code. This can result in a term of imprisonment for two, three, or another long terms depending on the situation.
Damages in Assault and Battery Cases
These cases can be very serious and have serious circumstances – even those in which no physical injury is sustained. When there was no harm, the damages may not be very significant or “worth it” in the case of a lawsuit. However, it would be worth it in the event that hospitalization and extensive medical attention took place. This is the best way for the victim to get reimbursement for their medical bills and things like pain and suffering.
Sometimes, some states may allow for assault and battery to be tried in cases by the government. As a criminal offense, assault and battery could be seen as a criminal offense that is punishable by incarceration, fines, or both. A single act could be subject of both a criminal prosecution and a personal injury lawsuit for damages. To find out where you stand, you will want to seek the experience of a personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in an assault or battery case, call an attorneyyou can trust today at WTW for a consultation.