79 Devine Street, Suite 100, San Jose, CA 95110


Are Assault and Battery the Same Thing in California? 

 Posted on July 18, 2022 in Uncategorized

san jose criminal defense lawyerThe terms “assault” and “battery” are heard so often together that many people believe they are words describing the same thing. The fact that criminal defendants are often charged with assault and battery at the same time may reinforce this belief. But these two crimes are not the same and it is important to understand the difference between the two if you are facing charges for one or both. This blog provides a basic overview of the two both assault and battery, but an experienced California criminal defense attorney is the best source of answers to your questions. 

What is Battery? 

A person commits battery in California when they intentionally and illegally use force or violence against another person’s body. Examples of battery include, but are not limited to: 

  • Touching someone who blatantly says to stop 

  • Grabbing someone to restrain or hurt them 

  • Hitting, punching, or kicking someone 

  • Spitting on someone 

  • Throwing something at someone 

  • Poking someone in the chest

Physical contact does not need to cause injury to be considered battery; offensive or unwanted contact could be considered battery. 

Punishments for battery charges include up to $2,000 in fines and not more than six months in jail, although punishments can increase severely under certain circumstances, such as aggravated battery involving a lethal weapon. 

What is Assault? 

When someone with the capability of hurting someone else does try to hurt that person, they can be charged with assault. A person does not actually have to hurt someone or follow through on a threat; simply making a threatening statement, gesture, or movement may be considered assault. Some examples of assault include: 

  • Pointing a gun at someone while threatening them

  • Threatening to kill or hurt someone

  • Trying to hit someone and missing

  • Spitting at someone

  • Throwing an object at someone

For an act to be considered assault in California, the person committing the assault must have intentionally acted in a threatening way, with the capacity to carry out the threat, that could reasonably cause someone to believe they were about to be harmed.

Punishments for assault include up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in county jail, although, like battery, assault charges can be increased, such as when there is a clear intent to commit a violent injury. 

Call a San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Charges of either assault or battery are serious and require the assistance of an experienced and dedicated Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney. At Fuller Law Firm, our commitment to defending your constitutional rights comes first and foremost and we will pursue every avenue to try to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Call us 24/7 for a free consultation at 408-234-7563





Share this post:
Back to Top