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SIMPLE BATTERY – PC § 242


Battery describes force or violence used against another person. A prosecutor must show that the defendant willfully made contact with another person. The Penal Code establishes varying degrees of severity for a battery. While Section 242 of the Penal Code sets the basic elements of a battery, a prosecutor can also use Section 243(d) when the victim suffered a “serious bodily injury.” In addition, the Penal Code includes specific code sections regarding battery against specified persons such as peace officers, police officers, firefighters, emergency response technicians, school employees, and others. The Penal Code also establishes separate laws regarding battery in the context of domestic violence.

The type of criminal charge depends on the severity of the battery and the circumstances surrounding the crime. California state laws allow a prosecutor to pursue charges of aggravated assault or aggravated battery in the most serious cases. The prosecutor must show an “aggravating circumstance” to elevate the charges against the defendant. For example, use of a deadly weapon is often considered an aggravating circumstance that can elevate a charge to aggravated assault or aggravated battery. Another example of aggravated assault is assault with the intent to commit a felony such as murder or rape.  

Battery is a misdemeanor, meaning your maximum sentence is a county jail sentence.  You cannot be sent to state prison for a violation of PC § 242.