Imagine there are pictures of injuries that the police have in their possession and now you are the person they are pointing the finger at as being responsible for causing those injuries. Remember the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused the injuries that are being alleged in the criminal complaint against you. Often times the only evidence the prosecution has against you is the pictures and a statement from a witness that may not be that credible. There are always two sides to every story especially when the focus is on the causation of the injuries that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable it. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney that handles these cases in your corner to enhance your chances of winning the case.
Battery With Serious Bodily Injury
This offense occurs under California Penal Code section 243(d) when the intentional harmful or offensive touching of another person occurs without their consent and results in a serious bodily injury.
Intending to perform the motion that caused the battery.
Harmful or Offensive:
The touching of another person in a violent, rude, aggressive, angry, or disrespectful manner.
The slightest contact, touching or use of force. Physical contact can be indirect by causing an object or another person to touch the person.
The person’s body, clothing or something attached to their person.
The person did not consent to the touching.
Serious Bodily Injury:
A serious impairment of a physical condition.
Defendant Did Not Act In Self-Defense:
The prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Understanding Penal Code Section 243(d)
In consideration of the seriousness of battery, California has criminalized it under Penal Code section 243(d). Under this law, “when a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted on the person, the battery is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment for two, three, or four years.”
Basically, to convict someone of PC 243(d), the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements:
- The defendant intended to make physical contact with the person of another;
- The touching was harmful or offensive;
- The person did not consent to the touching;
- The person suffers serious bodily injury;
- The defendant did not act in self-defense.
Battery With a Serious Bodily Injury Can Be a Misdemeanor or a Felony
In California, Penal Code 243(d), a battery with serious bodily injury is considered a wobbler offense. This means that if the facts of your case are severe and/or you have a criminal history that justifies a harsh punishment, the prosecutor will likely charge you with a felony. Conversely, if this is your first offense and/or there are mitigating facts that can excuse or reduce some of your criminal culpability, prosecutors may be more likely to charge you with a misdemeanor.
Battery With Serious Bodily Injury Penalties
In California when an offense of battery with serious bodily injury is charged as a misdemeanor under PC 243(d), you may face:
- A sentence up to 1 year in the county jail;
- A fine of up to $2,000;
- Informal probation;
- A required Batterer’s class.
In California when an offense of battery with serious bodily injury is charged as a felony under PC 243(d), you may face:
- A sentence up to 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison;
- A fine up to $10,000;
- Formal probation;
- A required Batterer’s class;
- A ban from owning, possessing, purchasing or receiving a gun
- A strike under California’s Three Strikes law
Lesser Included Offenses for Battery With Serious Bodily Injury
A lesser included offense is an offense that is necessarily included in the greater offense. A conviction on a lesser included offense results in shorter sentences and less severe penalties than the greater offense. In California, it is impossible to commit battery with serious injury without necessarily also committing a battery. Under California Penal Code 242, simple battery is defined as the intentional harmful or offensive touching of another person without their consent. The lesser included offense of simple battery means that instead of facing one year under the greater offense PC 243(d) you would only face six months in county jail if convicted of the lesser offense PC 242.
You will be found not guilty of aggravated battery if you can prove any of these defenses:
- It was an accident, you did not intend to make physical contact with the person.
- The alleged victim did not suffer serious bodily injury, instead suffered minor harm.
- You were falsely accused of committing the battery.
- You were acting in self-defense or were protecting another person.
You have a valid self-defense if you acted under the reasonable belief that you or the person you were protecting faced an imminent threat of harm. For a legal self defense claim, the force that you used is justified if it was proportionate to the threatened force you were fighting off. It is important to note that the threat does not have to exist, as long as you felt threatened and believed you had to stand your ground. This is commonly referred to as fight or flight experience, an expert will be able to explain to the jury or the judge the physiological responses that causes your body to involuntarily react when threatened or placed in harms way.
There are different variations of battery cases, if you find yourself in a situation where you could be charged for a battery with serious bodily injury, make sure to contact San Diego criminal defense attorney Vik Monder to defend you. It is important to know and exercise your rights once you have been accused of a crime. A conviction for battery with serious bodily injury will have detrimental consequences that can last for the rest of your life. It can affect your right to own a gun, future employment options, as well as be taken into consideration in family court cases. You do not have to face these charges alone, we can help you. At Monder Law Group we believe that our responsibility is to fight zealously for the best possible outcome and that is getting the case either reduced or dismissed.