Assaultive Crimes and Battery

Attorney Richard M. Oberto has provided clients the best legal representation in a wide variety of cases involving assaultive crimes and battery. He has defended clients in serious cases involving the Three Strikes Law and in cases involving enhancement allegations for Weapons and Great Bodily Injury. He has a track record as a defense lawyer of getting a command of the evidence and providing the best legal representation.

The Difference between Assault and Battery

Assault and battery offenses both require the use of force. Simple assault (Penal Code section 240) requires an act that is likely to result in the application of force to another person. Simple battery (Penal Code section 242) requires a harmful or offensive touching. As person who is accused of assault or battery must have done the offending act willfully or on purpose. The main difference between assault and battery is that assault does not require any actual touching.

Serious Assault and Battery Crimes

California law defines a number of serious offenses that share some of the same principles as simple assault and battery. Felony assault and battery crimes that qualify as Strikes under California’s Three Strikes Law include the following: Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Penal Code section 245(a)(1)), Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury (Penal Code section 243(d)), Torture (Penal Code section 206), Mayhem (Penal Code section 203), and Shooting or Brandishing a Weapon.

Felony assault and battery offenses are subject to enhancement allegations for conduct involving Weapons, Great Bodily Injury, and other circumstances. The enhancement allegations add substantial potential penalties to the underlying offense. The allegations frequently have the effect of elevating an underlying non-Strike felony to a Strike offense under California’s Three Strikes Law. Great Bodily Injury (Penal Code section 12022.7) is an example of an enhancement that elevates an ordinary felony to a Strike Offense.

Defenses to Assault and Battery Allegations

People accused of assaultive and battery crimes have a variety of potential defenses that they should consider with their attorney. The prosecution always has the burden of proving its allegations of criminal wrongdoing beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mistaken Identification may present an issue in some cases, especially when the prosecution relies on eyewitness identification by strangers. Scientific research has shown that eyewitness identification may be particularly unreliable in cases where a witness was identifying a stranger. The research has also demonstrated that certain police procedures in conducting photographic line-ups and in-person show-ups may increase the unreliability of eyewitness identifications.

Self-Defense or Defense of Another may provide grounds for a defense in some assault and battery cases. A person is entitled to use reasonable force to defend himself or others against an imminent danger of bodily injury. The person must have reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary. Although the person’s belief about the need to use force must have been reasonable, it does not need to have been correct. A person is entitled to raise the legal defense as long as he reasonably believed at the time that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the imminent danger in question.

A person who was the initial aggressor in a fight does not necessarily forfeit his right to act in lawful self-defense. If the initial aggressor meets certain legal criteria that demonstrate he tried to stop fighting, he has the right to self-defense when his opponent continues fighting. The right to self-defense also applies to a person who engaged in mutual combat, but who subsequently met legal criteria demonstrating that he tried to stop engaging in the combat.

A person who started a fight using non-deadly force also may have the right to self-defense if his opponent suddenly escalated the matter to the use of deadly force. The person must not have started the fight with the purpose of retaliating when the opponent escalated to the use of deadly force.

A person accused of assault or battery should discuss the applicability of any potential defenses with an attorney. The appropriate defense strategy depends on the specific facts of a case.

Serious Legal Defense

Assaultive crimes and battery are serious offenses. Depending on the specific charge, a defendant may face the potential for fines, jail, prison, enhancement allegations, and sentencing under the Three Strikes law. Mr. Oberto understands the stakes when a person’s liberty and reputation are on the line.

Mr. Oberto welcomes people to contact him 24/7 at (559) 221-2557 to request an initial consultation. Se habla Espanol.

People also may contact Mr. Oberto to request an initial consultation using the contact form available on this website. Please do not use the contact form to write down sensitive information. Information communicated over the internet, including through this website, may not be considered confidential or privileged.

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