Violence happens, and criminal charges may follow when someone finds him/herself a victim of an attack. Sometimes, justification exists for physical confrontations, such as situations involving self-defense. The average California resident might not understand how the law works, even when facing assault-and-battery charges. Such charges could be serious ones, and the accused may benefit from qualified legal counsel.
Assault vs. battery
Confusion exists about the differences between assault and battery. A person could face serious chances of an assault conviction while the battery charges might be weak.
California law describes assault as an “unlawful attempt” to inflict violent injury on someone. Battery refers to the actual use of force. So, assault-and-battery involves both the intent to commit violence and the subsequent commission of a violent act.
If the accused never engaged in any physical contact, there is no battery. However, assault charges may be appropriate. Imagine if someone made a menacing move towards another individual, and a bystander restrained that person. No battery occurred, but the encroachment on the other person might point to intent. Again, the intent to commit violence might yield charges of assault.
Issues surrounding the charges
A defense attorney may challenge assault charges by casting doubt about intention. Remember, in criminal cases, guilt requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
As for battery charges, the credibility of the person claiming the injuries may come into question. Revealing someone falsifying a claim he/she suffered battery could lead to such charges being dismissed.
Self-defense could serve as a defense, as well. Protecting oneself against an attacker might support a self-defense claim.
Both assault and battery might be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. A criminal defense attorney may attempt to plea bargain felony charges down to a misdemeanor. Defendants facing charges may need to speak to an attorney without delay.