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If you or a loved one has been arrested for Assualt then you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you.  Below I wll be explaining some of the elemements of the law you should not use this article as a substitute for getting legal advice from an Attorney.  If you have questions after reading this article give us a a call at 559 441-1418. 

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Bettery is defined in Penal Code section 242.  To prove a charge of Battery the prosecutor must prove. 

1. The defendant intentionally and unlawfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner.  

2. AND, the defendant did not act in self defense, in defense of another or act reasonably when disciplining a child.  

The slightes touch can be enough to satisfy the battey statute. It must be done in a rude or angry manner.  Making any contact with the person is enough even if it is just through the clothing.  The touching does not have to cause pain or injury.  The physical contact can even be made to something the person is holding.  Such as a purse or a backpack.


It is not a defense that you were resonding to verbal act of  provocation.  The provocation must have put you in reasonable fear of a physcial attack.  

You can be the first one to fight in an altercation but it must be reasonable and you must be acting in self defense and not attacking somoene because they verbally said something to provoke you. 



A person is allowed to use defense or physical violence to protect himself or others.  It must be imminent harm or  protecting himself or others from being the victim of a crime.  And your use of force must be reasonable. 


If you are a person that accidentally touched somoene then you have an accident defense. 


A parent using reasonable force to discipline a child.  If the court feels that the level of force  used by the parent was not "reasonable under the circumstances then the person can be held liable under the statute. 


The penalties for violation of this statute vary from case to case and could include up to six monthes in jail, fines work program parenting classes, or any combination of the above. if you are charged with a misdemeanor especially in Fresno County then you could be entitled to a 977 appearance which is an appearance your Attorney  makes on your behalf.  

If the case is a felony or there is great bodily injury there could be a strike involved and there could be the possibility of up to four years in prison,  a strike on your record and there could be loss of gun rights for the remainder of your life.  Of course this depends on the circumstances and how the District Attorneys office wants to procede. The local District Attorneys office is the one entity that decides exactly what charges will be filed and how the case will proceed after they get the case from the police agency that filed a police report.  

After that point the District Attorney's office will decide if the case will proceed as Felony or a Misdemeanor and how the case will be dealt with if you have any questions about a particular case then you should give an Attorney a call as  former probation officer, deputy district attorney, and a criminal defense attorney with more than 16 years of experience I can help you get through this and help you.  Give us a call 559441-1418. 


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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418