The crimes of assault and battery are linked together in casual conversation and quite often in practice. But in reality, they are two separate crimes and require different approaches when it comes to legal defense strategies. Our experienced Los Angeles assault and battery lawyer has a deep familiarity with the varying charges that can be levied in either category and a track record of success at protecting defendants.
Ninaz Saffari has been a successful defense lawyer for over 18 years, and in 2016, she founded Saffari Law Group. Committed to a rigorous defense of the rights and reputation of our clients, Saffari Law Group takes pride in the individual attention we give each defendant who comes through our doors.
The state of California defines assault as an intentional threat of violence against another person. It does not have to involve physical contact for criminal charges to be brought, and can encompass verbal or psychological threats as well. Battery, on the other hand, is a physical attack that involves contact with another person without their consent. It can range from pushing or shoving to punching or kicking.
The difference in the nature of each crime means that battery must be proven with physical evidence—i.e., the defendant’s DNA on the alleged victim or something else that proves the contact took place. Assault can be a grayer area, relying on witness testimony and other forms of evidence that an experienced Los Angeles assault and battery attorney might dispute in court or in pretrial motions.
State law and procedure for how assault and battery charges are dealt with, and what their penalties are in the event of conviction are all in the California Penal Code.
Every allegation has its own dynamic, and that’s why we take the time to give each case real personal attention. Generally speaking, though, there are some common defenses that our Los Angeles assault and battery lawyer can pursue.
It may be possible to argue self-defense or provocation,. Self-defense relies on demonstrating that the defendant acted out of necessity in order to protect themselves from immediate danger caused by another person’s actions. Provocation requires showing that actions taken by another person were sufficient enough to provoke violent behavior.
Winning a case on these grounds means demonstrating that a reasonable person would have responded as the defendant did. Who decides what’s reasonable? A jury. The verdict a jury reaches may well come down to how well a defense attorney presents their client’s case.
The defense strategies with battery allegations will revolve around what level of physical evidence the prosecution has. In cases where that evidence is low, the defense may argue that their client simply did not commit the act they are accused of. It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to prove otherwise, and to do so beyond any reasonable doubt. Experienced lawyers, like we have at Saffari Law Group, understand how to chip away at a prosecution’s case and create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors—who must then reach a unanimous verdict.
In cases where physical evidence is strong, the same self-defense and provocation strategies used in assault cases might be applied here. An attorney might also use what’s called a mitigation strategy—essentially arguing that their client was unaware of the potential severity of the actions taken, and perhaps agreeing to seek counseling and rehabilitation.
It’s imperative that defendants work with legal counsel that has the experience necessary to properly gauge the caliber of the District Attorney’s evidence, and to weigh that in light of possible defenses and any plea agreements that may be offered .
Common battery cases include the following: