24 Jan What is Aggravated Battery in California?
Aggravated battery is a term that’s often thrown around in legal circles that many of us don’t fully understand.
According to California law, aggravated battery is a crime that’s committed when your actions cause another to suffer a serious injury. Examples of this include:
- Deliberately tripping the victim and when they hit the ground, they split open their chin
- Grabbing your girlfriend’s arm during a heated fight and dislocating one of her joints
- Punching an irritating guy at a bar and breaking several of his teeth
It’s important to note that in cases of aggravated battery, the prosecution must prove that at the time of the altercation, you acted willfully and knew that there was a chance your actions could physically harm the other person. This means that if you tripped and accidentally stumbled so hard into a person that they were knocked off their feet and banged their head, you won’t be charged with aggravated battery in California because the injury was the result of an accident and there was no malice behind your actions.
The ins and outs of aggravated battery are discussed in California’s Penal Code 243d. When you read through the code, you quickly discover that the victim plays a big role in the outcome of the case. The law discusses what happens when the victim of the aggravated assault is an on-duty police officer and when the victim is a spouse/romantic partner.
One thing that Penal Code 243d makes very clear is that California lawmakers take aggravated battery very seriously and that there is an assortment of potential consequences connected to a guilty conviction.
One of the interesting things about aggravated battery in California is that it’s one of the state’s many wobbler offenses. A variety of variables determine if you are charged with misdemeanor or felony aggravated battery. Some of these variables include the severity of the victim’s injuries and the circumstances leading up to the incident.
It’s important to understand that being convicted of aggravated battery in California requires that the victim must have sustained a relatively serious injury. A scratch or minor cut isn’t considered serious. Examples of serious injuries include wounds that require stitches, losing a tooth during the incident, broken bones, dislocated joints, loss of consciousness, etc.
In cases involving aggravated battery against a spouse/familial relation/significant other, a guilty conviction could result in a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail. It’s not unusual for a judge to sentence the convicted party to probation, particularly when it’s a first offense.
When the instance of aggravated battery has a peace officer as the victim, a guilty conviction in a misdemeanor case could result in a year in jail. In a felony case, the sentence could include as much as three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to potentially being sentenced to jail and required to pay some substantial court fines, the judge will also likely order you to pay restitution to the victim. It’s highly likely that this restitution will include medical expenses, lost wages, and counseling expenses that the victim sustained because of the incident.