Battery involves direct or indirect touch that results in the harm of someone else. Often, the majority of people cannot tell apart battery from assault. While these two forms of crime are related, they have different meanings. With an assault crime, physical touch is not an element of a crime, while a battery crime involves the component of offensive or harmful contact.
When you violate the California Penal Code 243(d) PC battery with a serious injury, you are likely to face different penalties. The court decides what punishment to impose depending on the severity of your crime. The court could sentence you to prison, compensation to the victim, probation, or a fine in the form of money. The crime of battery with a severe injury can happen at any moment or place. The offense could occur in your house, your victim's home, or a lounge. Your victims could include your spouse, ex-lover, patrons, or parents.
We invite you to engage our attorneys at the Orange County Criminal Lawyer when you get wind of your aggravated battery crime investigation. Our lawyers have proven track record for helping several clients in Orange County have criminal charges against them reduced or dropped.
We help build legal defenses for PC 243(d) and stand with you throughout your case. Some possible defenses for battery with a serious physical injury crime are the act of self-defense, you caused an injury that the court cannot rule as serious, and the battery crime was an accident.
What is “Battery Causing Serious Injury” in California?
Under California law, battery resulting in serious injury is a serious crime. Also referred to as aggravated battery, this crime occurs when you commit battery resulting in serious bodily harm to the victims.
Legal Definition of Aggravated Battery
According to PC 243(d), the battery is an element of aggravated battery crime. The defendant must touch the victim intentionally or willfully in an offensive or harmful manner.
One element of a battery crime is touching another person. The prosecution can consider even the slightest physical contact that results in harming another person as an aggravated battery.
California law explains “willfully” as the intent to touch another person in a harmful manner. Here, the law says that you commit a crime, even if you had zero intentions to benefit, violate any penal code, or injure your victim.
When speaking of touch, it has to result in a battery. The contact is done offensively. Here, the touch is disrespectful, violent, rude, or annoying.
Assault vs. Battery
Assault and battery are two crimes that people often confuse or use interchangeably as synonyms, but these crimes have different meanings under California law.
All these crimes involve the intent of a defendant to cause harm to another person. Also, assault and battery include the threats of physical attacks or actual attacks.
According to the PC 243(d), the crime of assault involves actions that can result in physical harm through touching someone against their wish while a battery is using violence to cause physical harm to someone else.
You don’t have to touch someone else to commit the crime of assault. With battery, actual physical contact is a must element. Simply put, an assault is like attempting battery while a battery is the completion of the crime of assault.
The Legal Definition of a “Serious Injury”
Someone else must incur severe bodily injury before you can get charged with the offense of aggravated battery.
California law defines a “serious bodily injury” as the severe damage of another person’s physical state.
There are many possible physical injuries following the crime of battery. These are bone fractures, severe disfigurement, concussions, unconsciousness, prolonged loss, a body organ or part failure, and wounds needing lots of stitches.
Under PC 243(d), the juror has the power to determine if an injury amounted to serious bodily harm. This means that even if the victim’s injury falls under the “serious bodily injury” category, it is not automatic that the injury is serious. Also, it is not a must that the juror considers the injury as serious even if it falls under the “serious physical injury” categories.
The Element of an Aggravated Injury Crime
Every crime has a set of facts that the prosecution must prove against the defendant. The court cannot convict an offender if there is no compelling evidence that there was a commission of a crime.
Under California law, a crime must have particular elements like:
- The state of mind like the intent to assault someone else
- The actual crime commission like the act of battering someone else
- The failure to stop commission or commit a crime
Concerning aggravated battery crime, the elements are an intentional or willful touch, touching someone else, an offensive and harmful touch against someone else’s wish, and serious bodily harm.
What Evidence is Needed for Proving a Battery with Serious Injuries Charge in Court?
Like any other criminal offense in California, the court cannot sentence you for violation PC 243 (d) before the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed assault and battery.
Below are pieces of evidence that the prosecutor must present before the court as proof that you committed aggravated battery:
Intentionally or Willfully
The prosecution must offer proof that you willfully offensively touched the victim under PC 243 (d). An intentional or willful touch occurs when you have the intent to act with a purpose.
The law does not need you to have the intent to hurt your victim, violate statutes, or take any advantage. You could get convicted of battery with serious injury if your willful touch caused a severe injury to the victim.
The court could punish you even if you had no plans to harm the victim. Adding the victim’s side of the story, a witness must provide a statement or account confirming that they indeed saw you touching the victim.
Touching Someone Else
The most critical evidence in a battery with a serious injury case is the actual act of touch. Both the victim and the witness must explain the nature, according to their viewpoints, of your willful touching.
The prosecution bears the burden to prove that you indeed initiated physical touch resulting in serious bodily injury.
Touching someone else is not necessarily by the use of fingers; you could offensively touch your victim while showing a gun. Here, the weapon is meant to intimidate the victim while violently touching them.
Another instance of an indirect touch is where you touch the victim’s purse or clothing and result in serious physical injury. These are considered extensions of the victim. The projector, in this case, must prove that you touched the victim indirectly and caused harm.
Offensive or Harmful Manner
The court must receive proof beyond a reasonable doubt from the prosecutor that your action (touching) was done in an offensive or harmful manner.
An offensive touch could include a hard poke, a blow, or firmly pushing the victim. Contact in an unpleasant manner must involve rudeness, anger, or violence.
Bodily Injury that’s Serious
Before convicting you for violating PC 243 (d), the prosecution must present in court, a medical-treatment sheet showing that the injury incurred by the victim is serious. The evidence of a serious injury must validate that the injury would prevent the victim from executing their everyday tasks.
A serious physical injury shows the impairment of the victim’s bodily state. Injuries considered serious under California law include damage to an organ in the body, bone fractures, concussion, or physical disfigurement.
Note that even if the victim seeks treatment from a doctor, this does not automatically escalate to serious physical injury. The juror has all the jurisdiction to rule whether the victim's injury is serious. At times the court could consider a slight bruise as a serious injury if all elements of battery with serious physical injury are evident.
Penalties for Violating PC 243(d)
The violation of PC 243(d) PC is a wobbler under California law. Here, the prosecution has the right to choose whether to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor. The prosecution’s decision hangs on your criminal history and facts of your criminal case.
If the jury chooses to convict you with a misdemeanor, possible punishment is:
- Summary or misdemeanor probation
- Jail time in a county jail for not more than one year
- A fine that doesn’t exceed $1,000
If the court rules that your aggravated injury crime is a felony, the possible penalties include:
- Formal or felony probation
- Jail time in a county jail for two years, three years, or four years
- A fine not exceeding $10,000
Also, in case your California aggravated battery crime is a felony, your rights to handle or own a gun get revoked. Note that acquiring a firearm following your aggravated battery conviction could result in additional charges – felon handling a firearm charge.
Sentence Enhancement for a “Great Bodily Injury” Crime
A defendant could face a new criminal sentence if the court receives enough evidence of “great bodily damage.”
Note that “great bodily injury” differs from “serious bodily injury.” According to California law, “great bodily injury” refers to significant physical harm.
Typically, “great bodily injury” involves more severe and substantial injuries compared to “serious bodily injury.” The battery could cause serious injuries and not great physical injuries.
So, if the victim’s injuries escalate to great bodily harm, the court could add extra and harsh penalties like jail time of three to six years. The “great bodily injury” crime penalties are added to “serious bodily injury” crime punishment.
Legal Defenses to Penal Code 243(d) PC Charges
You don’t want to face sentences for violating Penal Code 243(d) PC. The repercussions are not welcoming to your boss, personal life, business, and relations with other people.
You could face PC 243(d) charges for just a minor touch even if you had zero intent of causing harm to the victim. How you view your offense is different from everyone else's perception. They presume you are not only a brutal person but also a criminal.
Here, you need to hire a competent defense lawyer and build your defense fast. There exist many potential and legal defenses you and your attorney could use and help drop or reduce your criminal charges.
Yours Was an Act of Self-defense
Your victim plus the prosecution must present enough proof that you cause serious harm to your victim. What if the victim was at fault? What if your victim wanted to injure you and you defend yourself?
Your attorney could use this legal defense in court if:
- You used greater force to get you out of a dangerous situation
- You used a lot of force to defend yourself against danger
- You defended someone else from impending risk of incurring a severe bodily injury
- You reasonably believed that you or another person was in possible threat of suffering physical injury
Your Battery Crime Was an Accident
Defenses of accidents apply to many criminal charges, aggravated battery included.
While the court can punish you for violating PC 243(d) even though you had no intent to cause harm, the jury cannot impose penalties if you never touched the victim willfully.
The legal defenses of accident examples include accidentally pushing the victim in a gathering, or slipping and falling on the victim.
The Injury Incurred Wasn’t Serious
California law, even if it defines aggravated battery, the juror decides if the battery caused serious injury to the victim.
Many victims accuse offenders of violating PC 243(d) out of sheer resentment. Victims want to make injuries incurred appear serious that the genuine case. Instances, where victims seem to amplify the seriousness of their injuries, are when they seek unnecessary doctors’ appointments or complain of pain and suffering that is non-existent.
Your lawyer wants to launch an investigation to find out the true extent of harm caused to the victim.
The court could dismiss your charges or reduce them to PC 242.
PC 243(d) and Related Penal Codes
Under California law, there exist many other offenses that closely relate to aggravated battery. Usually, these related offenses get charged along with or in place of PC 243(d).
PC 242 Battery/ Simple Battery
You get charged with simple battery in place of aggravated battery if you caused no serious injury to the victim.
If you violate PC 242, you get charged with a misdemeanor. Here, the court could impose penalties like jail time of a period not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding $2,000.
Your attorney could initiate a plea bargain and have your battery with serious injury charge reduced to a simple battery charge.
PC 243(B) and 243(C)(2) Battering a Peace Officer
California law is strict on battery offenses committed against particular categories of people, as explained in sections (b) and (c)(2) of PC 243.
Penal Code 243 protects against battery crimes on the following persons:
Security officers, traffic police officers, firefighters, law enforcers, police officers, custodial officers, paramedics, rescue officers, animal control officers, and physicians in the line of duty.
If you commit a simple battery offense against protected officers, under PC 243, you get charged with a misdemeanor, but your penalties are potentially higher.
Violation of PC 243 sees your jail time increase from six months to one year in county jail. Also, regardless of the extent of injuries protected persons incur, the court considers a battery crime as a wobbler.
The possible penalty for a felony crime is jail time of sixteen months, and two or even three years. Nonetheless, you attract lesser punishment if your battery crime didn’t result in serious bodily injury on the peace officer.
PC 273.5 Corporal Injury on Intimate Partners
Physical injuries on intimate partners are not uncommon forms of domestic violence in California. You violate PC 273.5 if you cause bodily harm that results in pain and suffering to any of the persons that follow:
- Your children biological parent
- Your ex-partner or current intimate partner
- Your former or current cohabitant
Like “battery with serious injury,” “corporal injury on an intimate partner” is considered a wobbler under California law. If charged with a felony, you risk jail time of two years, three years, or four years in county jail.
If the prosecution charges you for violating PC 273.5, you want to get help from an experienced attorney. Your lawyer builds a credible defense to have the charges lowered to the crime of battery, causing serious physical injury.
You want to note that if convicted for violation of PC 273.5 as a foreigner, you risk deportation. The federal immigration decree suggests that corporal injury on a spouse is a deportable criminal offense.
PC 368 Elder Abuse
California law recognizes an elder as someone who is above the age of 65 years. You subject yourself to criminal liability if you cause pain and suffering to the elderly, either mentally or physically.
Under PC 368, it is a criminal offense to inflict unnecessary psychological or bodily pain and suffering on someone else who is of the age of 65 years and above.
If convicted for elder abuse crime, you could face additional charges under PC 243(d) – aggravated battery.
What is more, the crime of elder abuse is considered a wobbler under California law. If the jury convicts you for felony charges, you are likely to serve two years, three years, or four years in state prison. The court could also impose a fine that doesn’t exceed $6,000.
PC 243.4 Sexual Battery
You commit a sexual battery crime if you illegitimately detained another person and touch your private organs in their view. Before a California court can convict you for violating PC 243.4, the prosecution must prove that you touched the victim against their will and with the intent of abusing them sexually, instigating arousal, and sexual gratification.
Under California law, parts that are considered intimate include female breasts, buttocks, groin, and anus. Detaining your victim against their wish involves the use of physical force before touching them sexually. State laws consider sexual battery as a wobbler – the court chooses to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If charged with a misdemeanor sexual battery, you could go to jail for six months, get fined not more than $2,000. Fine penalties are high if the victim is an employee.
There is the possibility of summary probation for a period not exceeding five years. Punishment could include undergoing a batterer's correction program and community service.
PC 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery
Domestic battery is not an uncommon crime in California. PC 243(e)(1) is among the most filed criminal charges in California.
You are only charged for violating PC 243(e)(1) if you touched your spouse, ex-spouse, lover, or cohabitant offensively.
According to California law, cohabit refers to two unrelated persons sharing a home for a significant period. Within this period, the couple can get involved in intimacy, split expenses, or co-own a property.
The domestic battery crime takes in bother same-sex and heterosexual relationships. And, this crime doesn’t need you to injure the victim – a slight but offensive touch could get you convicted.
Possible punishment for PC 243(e)(1) is a fine that cannot exceed $2,000, summary probation, and not more than a year imprisonment.
Find an Orange County Criminal Lawyer Near Me
The violation of California Penal Code 243(d) PC attracts severe punishment and could result in negative repercussions in your life and on your criminal history. Whenever you or your loved one face battery with serious injury charges, do not hesitate to call us at the Orange County Criminal Lawyer.
You can count on our competent criminal lawyers to guide you from your arrest to the court proceedings. Get in touch with us at 714-262-4833 today and let us fight for your freedom.