Skip to Content

Assault and battery charges are taken serious in California. California Penal Code 240 defines assault as "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. A battery is defined under California Penal Code 242 as "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another". Incidences of assault and battery typically occur during a physical fight or a verbal argument that turns into a physical altercation. Assault can also be construed even if you physically throw an object at someone regardless if they are injured or not, and you could still be arrested in California. A simple assault misdemeanor carries penalties ranging from six months to a year in the county jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,000. A simple battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and carries penalties ranging from six months in the county jail to three years in state prison and fines of $2,000 up to $10,000.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon Other Than a Firearm (Penal Code 245)

An assault with a deadly weapon also known as aggravated assault upon another person other than with a firearm with the intent to produce great bodily harm is a felony in California with penalties of up to four years in state prison and fines up to $10,000. A deadly weapon can be any object that is not part of your body such as a knife, a pen, rocks or even your car.

Assault with a Firearm (Penal Code 244)

Only possession of a firearm during the assault is enough cause to increase the penalties for this crime to a $10,000 fine and a 4-year prison sentence.

Case Example:

British actor and comedian Russell Brand met with Los Angeles prosecutors on Wednesday November 17, 2010 regarding his arrest pertaining to an altercation with a photographer at LAX Airport in September 2010. Brand and his wife, singer Katy Perry, were entering Delta Airlines terminal when they were swarmed by paparazzi.  Airport video cameras caught Brand swatting at the photographer and hitting his camera. He was facing the possibility of misdemeanor simple battery charges. The City said a prosecutor will also meet with the photographer this week. However, a spokesperson for the City said it was unlikely that they would be filing charges against Brand. Brand was unknown in the United States until 2008 when he hosted the MTV Video Music Awards. He has become famous here since his recent marriage to Katy Perry. He has also starred in the film Get Him to the Greek". Perry is known for her two hit songs "I Kissed a Girl" and "California Girls".
This is not the first time that celebrities have gotten into skirmishes at LAX with the paparazzi.  City prosecutors charged Kanye West with misdemeanor battery, vandalism and grand theft for breaking a photographer’s flash during an incident at the airport in September 2008. The case was later dismissed after the rapper settled a civil suit and agreed to attend anger management classes.Mike Tyson was also charged in November 2009 for allegedly hitting a photographer at LAX. Prosecutors declined to charge the former boxer because they said they found insufficient evidence.

If you are arrested for assault and battery charges in California, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed to menacing, mistaken identity, self-defense, defense of property or defense of others, no credible threat, false accusations, the victim consented to the assault, or there may be insufficient evidence to charge you.

Share To: