“Aggravated Battery” Defenses & Punishment – California Penal Code 243(d) PC

April 6, 2016

The difference between simple battery and battery causing serious bodily injury is the level of harm the alleged victim received. Battery causing serious bodily injury, also known as “Aggravated Battery” is charged under California Penal Code 243(d). Because the level of injury, the prosecutor may allege this offense as a strike applied to California’s Three Strike laws. Aside from a claim of self-defense or that you lacked the requisite intent, normally the legal issue in the case is whether the alleged victim suffered “serious” bodily harm versus moderate or minor harm. You may find the following article helpful as it will focus on 10 important things you need to know about aggravated battery charges.

1. When Should I Retain a Lawyer?

When facing accusations of a violent offense, you should consult and retain an attorney right away. With the passage of time, crucial evidence is liable to be lost, destroyed, and video surveillance recordings often deleted within a few days. If you retain an attorney early, your lawyer may contact individuals and business to stop all destruction of evidence and preserve this evidence as it may be pertinent to your defense in court. Furthermore, an attorney will ask that you document and photograph all scratches, bruises, and other marking in the event there’s a potential self-defense claim. Regardless, you should retain a lawyer at the earliest possible stage of the case – contact an Newport Beach criminal defense attorney.

2. What are the Elements for Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury?

According to CALCRIM 925, in order for you to be found guilty of battery causing serious bodily injury under California PC 243(d), the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. You willfully touch another person in a harmful and/or offensive manner;
2. The other person suffered serious bodily harm as a result; and
3. You were not acting in self-defense.

3. What is the Punishment for Aggravated Battery?

Battery causing serious bodily injury is a wobbler offense – giving the prosecutor discretion to file felony or misdemeanor charges. The punishment for this offense will depend on whether you were convicted of felony or misdemeanor aggravated battery. Fortunately however, you may be able to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation.

If convicted of a felony, you face a sentencing range of 2, 3, or 4 years in prison and the likelihood of a permanent strike on your record. Furthermore, other consequences include life-time prohibition from you owning a firearm, immigration consequences, and loss of state licensing.

Also, depending on the level of injury your accuser received, the government may allege a great bodily injury (“GBI”) enhancement under PC 12022.7(a) if you personally inflict GBI upon the victim. This sentencing enhancement carries an additional 3 years to run consecutive to your underlying sentence.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in the county jail. The court will additionally impose a period of probation, anger management, and order you to pay for the medical bills of the alleged victim. A misdemeanor conviction can also carry a 10-firearm ban, loss of your state issued license, and adversely affect your ability to remain in the United States in the event you’re not a U.S. citizen.

4. What are the Legal Defenses to Aggravated Battery?

• You did not intentionally / willfully touch another person. Moreover, your conduct was an accident.

• The physical touching is not considered objectively harmful or offensive to the reasonable person.

• You’re wrongly accused based on mistaken identification by the accuser or witness.

• The alleged victim is fabricating or exaggerating the circumstances.

• The other person only suffered moderate injury and not “serious bodily injury”.

• You were reasonably acting in self-defense to prevent bodily harm.

• You reasonably acted to defend someone else against bodily harm.

• You were reasonably disciplining your child.

• Your incriminating statement to police were illegally obtained in violation of your Miranda Rights.

5. What is “Serious Bodily Injury”?

The definition of serious bodily injury is imprecise. But CALCRIM 925 offers guidance for the court to determine which state, “…serious impairment of physical condition. Such as injury may include loss of consciousness, concussion, bone fracture, protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ, a wound requiring extensive suturing, or serious disfigurement.” As noted above, depending on the facts, the crux of the legal issue in a case could be whether or not the alleged victim suffered minor injuries or serious bodily injury.

6. Should I Speak with the Police?

If at any time law enforcement seeks to question you regarding a battery incident, it’s in your best interest to decline giving any statement and demand the presence of an attorney. The more you speak with police, the more liable you’re to incriminate yourself and therefore limit options in creating a defense later in court. Speaking to police officer does nothing but hurt your chances of defeating battery accusations against you. Thus, if a police officer or detective attempts to speak with you to get “your side of the story”, decline to do so and contact the Law Offices of John Rogers.

7. Felony Reduction to a Misdemeanor

If you were convicted of felony aggravated battery under PC 243(d), you may be eligible to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor under PC 17(b). To obtain reduction, you must be completed with your probation and have no pending cases against you. The judge will consider: 1) your prior criminal history; 2) whether you suffered a probation violations; and 3) the circumstances of your case. If the court grants your petition, your felony will be reduced to a misdemeanor for all purposes. Unfortunately, reduction will not delete a strike and it may be used as a sentencing enhancement in the event you’re convicted of another felony.

8. Battery Expungement

Contact the Law Offices of John Rogers if you’re seeking to expunge a battery conviction. If you qualify and you’re subsequently granted an expungement, then there are considerable benefits especially in the private employment sector. There are certain limitations and eligibility requirements for this remedy however. For example, you must be completed with your probation period and have no pending cases currently against you. For more information about expunging your criminal record, contact the Law Offices of John Rogers.

9. What are Examples of Aggravated Battery PC 243(d)?

• Punching someone in the face breaking their nose and rendering them unconsciousness.

• Deliberately running someone over with your car causing them to break an arm or leg.

• Throwing a rock at someone resulting in a severe abrasion requiring a number of stitches.

• Chocking someone to the point where they lose consciousness.

10. Free Criminal Defense Consultation

Contact an experienced Newport Beach Violent Crimes Lawyer at the Law Offices of John Rogers if you’ve been accused or have been arrested for aggravated battery under PC 243(d). Mr. Rogers offers free confidential consultations with no obligation(s).

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