California P.C. 243(d): Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury

A battery conviction can have substantial consequences impacting a person for the rest of their life. Law enforcement and prosecutors treat crimes against persons seriously and often one faces mandatory jail time with a substantial amount of court fines and restitution to be paid to the alleged victim. Battery causing serious bodily injury can occurs within domestic household disputes with a cohabitant or bar fight with friends. It’s important to contact with a skilled criminal defense attorney to help reduce these charges or get them dismissed completely. Battery causing serious bodily injury is also often called aggravated battery or battery causing great bodily injury.

The difference between simple battery (PC 242)) from aggravated battery is the level of injury received on the alleged victim. For example, if one punches another which results in broken nose, the prosecutor will likely file aggravated battery charges since the victim suffered great bodily injury. Aggravated battery can be filed as a “strike” offense which means that one faces substantial consequences. Thus, if upon a subsequent felony conviction, the sentence then doubles.

Contact Attorney John Rogers Immediately

Los Angeles Battery Lawyer John Rogers understands that charges for battery can occur at any time of day which is why he makes himself available 7 days a week to consult with individuals accused of such offenses. The best approach to defeating battery charges is early criminal defense attorney intervention, contact Mr. Rogers immediately.

Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury Defined by Statute

The underlying offense is a simple battery which is defined under California Penal Code 242 which provides, “A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Additionally, Penal Code 243(d) requires substantially more injury to the victim to charge someone with aggravated battery, “When a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted, that person is guilty under this statute.” Therefore, the main difference between the two charges is the level of injuries received by the victim. In other words, for someone to be guilty under PC 243(d), the injuries to the victim must be “serious bodily injury” versus simple injury.

Elements of the Crime

In order for someone to be found guilty of aggravated battery under PC 243(d), the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant willfully touched another in a harmful or offensive manner
  2. The victim suffered serious bodily injury as a result
  3. Defendant was not acting in self-defense

What is serious bodily injury?

Serious bodily injury requires more than minor or moderate injury. The degree of injury varies because it’s fact specific. Common types of serious bodily injury examples are:

  • Broken Bones
  • Unconsciousness
  • Shootings
  • Stabbings
  • Impaired Organ Function
  • Disfigurement

What are the Defenses to Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury?

  • You did not purposefully or intend to cause a battery against another. Instead the incident was a mistake, accident, or beyond your control.
  • The victim did not suffer serious bodily injury. The victim instead suffered minor or moderate harm. This may require obtaining the victim’s medical records and having a defense medical expert to testify on your behalf negating the level of injuries.
  • The victim is falsely accusing or exaggerating the circumstances against you.
  • You were acting in self-defense. Meaning, you were legally entitled to defend yourself from immediate harm against the alleged victim.
  • You were misidentified as the person who committed the battery. Instances of misidentification generally include cross-racial identification, poor lighting, or a traumatic event affecting the victim’s recollection of the perpetrator.

What is the Punishment for Battery Causing Serious Injury?

Aggravated battery is a “wobbler” offense which means the prosecutor holds discretion on whether to charge someone with a felony or a misdemeanor. Factors a prosecutor will consider is the defendant’s prior criminal record and or the level of injury received from the victim. If the prosecutor files charges as a felony, one faces a possible “strike” enhancement that could affect the rest of their life.

If convicted of aggravated battery as a felony, the consequences are:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in California state prison
  • Formal Probation or Parole Supervision
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • A Permanent “Strike”
  • Anger Management / Counseling
  • Loss of Firearm Rights
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Restitution to the Victim
  • Temporary Loss of Search & Seizure Rights
  • Protective or Stay Away Order Imposed

If convicted of aggravated battery as a misdemeanor, the consequences are:

  • Up to one year of incarceration in the county jail
  • Court Ordered Probation
  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Anger Management / Counseling
  • 10-year firearm ban
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Restitution to the Victim
  • Protective or Stay Away Order Imposed

What evidence should be gathered by my Attorney?

  • Medical records of the victim to be examined and evaluated to determine they suffered the level of injuries being alleged.
  • Names and location of potential witnesses to be questioned by your attorney or private investigator
  • All recordings, including surveillance videos at local businesses or gas stations which could have captured the event. Additionally, all recordings that may have been captured by witnesses on their mobile devices.
  • Any impeachment evidence of the victim: facebook messages, text messages, phone logs, email exchanges. However, avoid all contact with the victim.


Dan punches Vic in the face. The impact breaks Vic’s jaw. The prosecutor will allege aggravated battery because Dan’s force resulted in serious injury, Vic’s broken jaw.

Dan got into a bar fight with Vic. Dan then punched Vic in the face causing Vic to bruise. Dan is subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated battery. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of aggravated battery because Vic did not suffer “serious bodily injury” but mere moderate bruising.

Should I talk to Police Officers or a Detective?

Absolutely not. The police are not attempting to question you to “help” you or help “clear” you. Often people make incriminating statements which impacts their ability to put on a defense later on. If police or a detective want to talk to you, do not make any statement and contact a criminal defense attorney right away.

Free Los Angeles Battery Attorney Consultation

Aggravated battery is a serious offense which requires immediate action. If you have been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for aggravated battery, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense and Battery Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free consultation. Mr. Rogers is located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call (949) 625-4487 now for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

Practice Areas