Assault and battery are some of the most reported crimes in Sacramento. Although both involve making a physical attack on someone, the main difference between the two is the actual presence of harm and the threat of harm. According to the California Penal Code, assault is the “unlawful attempt” to cause a “violent injury on the person of another” and is often treated as an attempt to commit a battery. Battery, however, is described as the use of force or violence against another person.
The California Penal Code establishes varying degrees of severity for a battery. The code also has a section describing battery against specified persons such as police officers, peace officers, firefighters and school employees, and others. Separate laws exist regarding battery in domestic violence.
Depending on the severity of injuries sustained by the plaintiff, the prosecutor may pursue charges of aggravated assault or aggravated battery. The use of a deadly weapon usually results in the elevation of battery charges to aggravated assault or aggravated battery. Assault with the intent to commit a felony such as rape or murder is generally charged as aggravated assault.
Simple assault (Cal. Penal Code Section 240) is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine, probation, restitution to the victim(s).
Depending on the nature of the alleged battery (Cal. Penal Code Section 242), the offense can be treated as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in county jail, and/or a maximum fine of $2,000 or probation. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is punishable by up to three years in county jail or state prison, a fine of $2,000 up to $10,000, or both, probation.