The law severely treats assault and battery crimes, especially aggravated battery charges. A conviction for battery with severe bodily injury will result in long imprisonment and payment of hefty fines. When facing these charges, you will need to have the services of a knowledgeable and experienced California defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney who understands the California justice system and who will defend you appropriately, ensuring you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Facing assault and battery charges in Bakersfield will affect your life and your loved ones. Therefore, having a renowned defense attorney will improve your chances of having the court dismiss or reduce your battery charges.

Our lawyers at Koenig Law Office will support and guide you throughout the entire trial, ensuring you know what is going on and are well prepared. You do not have to worry that you will face battery with severe bodily injury charges alone, as we will be with you until the conclusion of your case.

What is the Legal Definition of Battery With a Serious Bodily Injury?

In California, You will face battery with serious bodily injury or aggravated battery under CPC 243(d) when you injure another person by having unlawful or unwanted contact with them. It does not matter how slight the contact is to face these charges. The law also refers to the battery with severe bodily injury as aggravated.

Elements Of Battery With Serious Bodily Injury

To convict you of an aggravated battery or battery with severe bodily injury, the prosecution has to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You willfully or intentionally touched the victim in an offensive or harmful manner.
  • As a result of your unlawful, offensive, and harmful touch, the alleged victim suffered severe bodily injury.
  • Your act was not in self-defense or while defending others when you inflicted severe bodily injury on the victim.
  • You were not reasonably disciplining your child or a minor under your care when you inflicted great bodily injury.

For example, Mae and Winnie are members of a neighborhood softball team and usually meet to play over the weekends. During their weekend practice Mae accidentally hits Winnie on the mouth, knocking several of her teeth out.

In this case, Mae touched Winnie, resulting in severe bodily injury. She was not trying to defend another person or herself, nor was she disciplining a minor at the time of the accident, and she had no lawful duty in touching Winnie. However, in this case, the contact was accidental. Therefore, the jury may acquit Mae of battery with serious bodily injury charges even if Winnie suffered severe bodily injury due to her actions.

Unlawful Touching

Under penal code 243(d), you will face battery with severe bodily injury when full physical contact is between you and the victim. This contact can even be through clothing. For this charge, an offensive touch can be indirect, where you cause someone else or an object to make contact with the victim.

Example 1, Derick and Lynn are a married couple. During one of their heated arguments, Lynn pushes Derick slightly. Derick slips and bumps into Mellisa, their daughter, causing her to hit the edge of their coffee table, losing consciousness.

In this case, Derick’s touch was not forceful, although it was willful. Also, the contact which led to Mellisa’s unconsciousness was not direct. Lynn’s shoveled to Derick’s fall and, subsequently, to Mellisa’s unconsciousness. Lynn, in this case, is guilty of aggravated battery charges.

Example 2, Mike and John are hockey players playing on opposing teams. They are arguing after their game at the front steps of a local pub. Mike pushes John lightly on his chest, and this causes John to fall and injure his shoulder.

In this case, Mike did not forcefully push John, but because he wilfully touched him, resulting in a severe injury, he may face battery with severe bodily injury charges.

In some instances, the prosecution could introduce an item or object in court to prove that you caused the victim’s injuries if you used the object to harm the victim. The jury will find you guilty if you used a knife or a gun to commit the aggravated battery offense.

 If the prosecution does not have physical evidence, they can bring witnesses against you. If the witness testified that you shouted, angrily, or forcefully shoved the alleged victim, the jury would rely on this testimony when coming up with your sentencing.

Serious Bodily Injury

Under penal code 243(d), serious bodily injury is an injury that impairs the alleged victim’s physical condition. For this charge to be held in court, the alleged victim does not have to seek medical treatment. After examining the case, the jury has the prerogative to determine if an injury qualifies as a severe bodily injury or a great bodily injury.

You should note that the jury can convict you for battery with severe bodily injury charges even when the victim does not sustain broken bones if they find out the victim suffered severe bodily injury. In other circumstances, the jury may find you not guilty, even when the victim’s injury seems severe, if there is insufficient evidence against you.

Example 1, Sue and Matt are out on a date. Sue excuses herself to use the ladies' room. A drunk Matt follows Sue into the lady's room, and in anger, she pushes him away. Matt loses his balance and hits the bathroom mirror, breaking it. As a result, the shattered shards of the mirror cut his face. He ends up in the ER, receiving extensive stitching on his face. In this case, Sue can face battery with severe bodily injury charges, even if she did not purposely aim at harming Matt.

Example 2, Tedd argues with Mitch at a local bar, and in the heat of the argument, he strikes Mitch bruising his face. Mitch is fine after a couple of days. In this case, Todd can not be charged with battery with severe bodily injury but still face simple charges.

However, in the same case, if Mitch suffered a wound that ended with him having extensive stitching at the ER, with a concussion, or a broken bone. Todd would likely face battery with serious bodily injury charges.

Examples Of Severe Bodily Injuries

The law treats the following as severe bodily injuries:

  • Unconsciousness.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Concussion.
  • Broken bones.
  • Impairment of a body part.
  • Organ impairment.
  • Wounds requiring extensive stitching.

Penalties for Battery With Severe Bodily Injury Charges

California treats battery with severe bodily charges as a wobbler offense. A wobbler offense means that the prosecution could charge you for either a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on your criminal record and the facts surrounding your case.

Penalties For Misdemeanor Battery With Severe Bodily Injury Charge

  • One-year imprisonment in county jail.
  • Penalty assessments.
  • Summary probation.
  • Fines not exceeding $1,000
  • Loss of gun rights for ten years.

Penalties For Felony Battery With Serious Bodily Injury Charge

  • State imprisonment ranges from two to four years.
  • Penalty assessment.
  • Formal probation.
  • Lifetime loss of your gun rights.
  • Fines not exceeding $10,000
  • Earn a strike against your records under California’s Three-strike rule.

Penalty Enhancements

The court can apply penalty enhancement on your case under penal code 12022.7.16, where your actions led the victim to suffer GBI (great bodily injury). Penalty enhancement will add three to six years to your sentence.

Understanding What The Court Considers A Great Bodily Injury

Under California's penal code 243(d), battery with severe bodily injury charges will have penalty enhancement if the victim sustains a great bodily injury.

A great bodily injury (GBI) is a significant physical injury, while a serious bodily injury is of much lesser magnitude. You should note that not all injuries under the battery with severe bodily injury qualify as GBI.

If a victim sustains GBI, the jury may ensure your sentencing has an additional jail time that ranges from three to six years.

Legal Defenses to Battery With Severe Bodily Injury

 As you have seen, a conviction for battery with serious bodily injury could have far-reaching repercussions on your life. You will need the best defense to ensure that the court dismisses or reduces your charges. Some of the defense strategies that your defense team can use include and are not limited to:

An Accident

For the court to convict you of battery with serious bodily injury charge, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements. The law requires your touching to be willful or intentional. On the other hand, accidental contact or touch lacks the deliberateness that accompanies a willful touch.

You can use an accident as a defense strategy if you can prove to the court that you did not touch the victim intentionally. Doing this will show the court that the entire situation was an accident.

For example, if you accidentally pushed someone in a crowd and that person slipped and fell, breaking their arm, you can use an accident as a defense against aggravated battery charges.

Sometimes the jury can convict you of aggravated battery in a situation where you had no intention of harming the victim. However, the court will not issue a guilty verdict if your touching was not willful, but for this to happen, you will have to prove to the court that the incident was an accident.

You Acted In Self-defense

You could use self-defense or say you acted in defense of another person when:

  • You had enough reason to believe that your life or another person was in imminent danger.
  • You had enough reason to believe that using force at the time of the incident was necessary for your defense or others.
  • You reasonably believed that the victim intended to touch or harm you offensively.
  • You believed that the force you used against the victim was necessary and sufficient to defend yourself against the imminent danger to you or another person.

The Injury Was Not Serious

For a battery with serious bodily injury or an aggravated battery charge to be held in court, the victim must suffer a serious bodily injury. Also, the severity of the injury depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. Your defense team can argue that the victim did not sustain a severe bodily injury.

Related Offenses

Assault, Penal Code 240

The law under Penal code 240 defines assault as an unlawful act against another person that is carried out to injure or harm them intentionally. For these charges to be held in court, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you acted willfully, used force against another person, and had the present ability to injure another person. For assault charges, actual contact with the victim is not a requirement.

Assault is a misdemeanor offense, and a conviction will result in

  • Paying fines not exceeding $1,000.
  • Six months imprisonment in county jail.

Battery, Penal Code 242

The law defines battery as an unwanted or uninvited touch on another person, which is against their will and can be done even over clothing. The context of battery charges does not consider whether the touching was accomplished for sexual gratification.

For example, Ben takes Milly's hand and places it on his private parts. In this case, Ben will be guilty of battery charges under penal code 242, but he will not be guilty of sexual battery under penal code 243.4.

The battery is a misdemeanor offense in California with a conviction resulting in paying $1,000 in fines, six months imprisonment in county jail, or both.

Sexual Battery, PC 243.4

You will violate California PC 243.4 when you touch another person's intimate body parts for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse against their will. You will also violate another person's rights if you command a third party to touch the victim's intimate parts for sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse against their will.

The prosecution can charge you for a felony or misdemeanor offense, as sexual battery is a wobbler offense in California.

 A misdemeanor conviction will result in

  • Pay $2,000 in fines or $3,000 if you are the victim's employer.
  • One-year imprisonment in county jail.
  • Misdemeanor/informal probation.
  • Ten-year registration as a tier-one sexual offender.
  • Community service.
  • Attend a batterer's program.

A felony conviction, on the other hand, will result in:

  • Fines amounting to $10,000
  • Formal/ felony probation.
  • Four-year state prison imprisonment.
  • Lifelong registration as a tier three sex offender.
  • Attend a batterer's program.
  • Earning a Strike against your record under California's Three Strike Rule.

You should note that if the alleged victim sustains severe injuries due to your actions, you will have sentence enhancement. A sentence enhancement can add five years to your original sentence.

Assault With A Deadly Weapon (ADW) Penal Code 245(a)

Under California PC 245(a), you are guilty of ADW when you attempt to harm another person by force. The prosecution can charge you for a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on your criminal history and the facts surrounding your case, as this is a wobbler offense.

Misdemeanor penalties include

  • One year of county jail imprisonment.
  • $1,000 in fines.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Community service.
  • Paying victim restitution.

Felony penalties

  • Paying $10,000 in fines.
  • Felony probation.
  • Paying victim restitution.
  • Community service.
  • Up to four years imprisonment in state prison.

California VC 23110 (b), Throwing Dangerous Objects at a Vehicle

Under CVC, you will be guilty of violating the law if you throw a dangerous item at a vehicle to harm another person. A dangerous item can be a metal, rock, missile, or anything that can cause serious injury to the other person or vehicle's occupants or damage their vehicle.

The penalties for this crime include:

  • Paying $10,000 in fines.
  • Up to three years imprisonment in state prison.

California Pc 217.2, Assaulting A Peace/ Public Officer

You will be guilty of violating this law when you assault a public officer or hinder them from performing their official duties. For these charges to hold in court, you do not have to use a dangerous weapon or object while committing the offense.

Assaulting a public officer is a wobbler offense where the prosecution can charge you with felony or misdemeanor offenses depending on your criminal history and the facts surrounding your case.

A misdemeanor conviction will earn you one year in county jail, paying up to $1,000 in fines, or both. A felony conviction could result in much harsher penalties like paying up to $10,000 in fines, up to three years of county jail imprisonment, or both.

Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

Facing aggravated battery charges is a severe offense; you should not take it lightly. The prosecution could even charge you with a great bodily injury (GBI) offense, resulting in stiff penalties. If the police arrest and charge you with battery with serious bodily injury under California PC 243(d) in Bakersfield, your first step should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Our dedicated team of lawyers may try a pre-court intervention with the prosecution at Koenig Law Offices. Pre-court intervention ensures the prosecution does not file criminal charges against you in court, which will benefit you. However, if this fails, we will defend you and ensure you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. For more information or consultation, call us at 661-793-7222, and our legal team will advise you accordingly.