California Penal Code Section 242 PC – Battery

California Penal Code Section 242 PC makes it a crime for an individual to touch or make contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner without the alleged victim’s consent to do so. For the prosecution to convict an individual of a battery charge, it need not show that the defendant caused the victim an injury or pain, rather, it must only show that the defendant made an offensive or harmful contact with the victim. Penal Code 242 is known as the simple battery criminal statute because it does not cause a serious and injury and it is not committed against a law enforcement officer.

That said, if the defendant makes contact with a victim and causes the victim a serious injury, the prosecution may charge the defendant with the more serious crime of battery causing serious bodily injury under Penal Code Section 243(d). If you have been charged with battery in violation of penal code 242, you should not a battery charge lightly as a conviction can result in up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $2000.

So, to avoid being sent to jail and having to pay a hefty fine, you should contact an experienced battery defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and mitigate the consequences that you face. We have defended countless individuals charged with battery, so we have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 242 PC – Battery

According to California Penal Code Section 242 PC, “A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” According to California Penal Code Section 243, “A battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

Note: You should know the difference between battery and assault because people tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they are too different crimes. Assault is an attempted battery (an attempt to make a harmful or offensive contact), whereas, a battery is the actual making of a harmful or offensive contact with another person. So, keep this in mind to know the difference between assault vs battery.

Proving a Person Guilty of Committing a Battery

For the prosecution to convict an individual of battery, it must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of battery charges. The prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant willfully
  • Touched or made contact with another person
  • The defendant’s contact was harmful or offensive

If the prosecution proves these three elements, you will be convicted of a battery charge under penal code section 242.

Note: For the prosecution to convict you, it does not need to show that you caused injury to another person, the slightest touching satisfies the touching requirement.

Also, you can commit a battery by causing an object to contact the alleged victim. For example, if you throw a rock at someone and the rock hits them, you’ve satisfied the touching requirement because you caused the rock to touch them.

When it comes to the willful requirement, the prosecution need only show that the defendant acted on purpose. The prosecution need not show that the defendant intended to break the low or injure the alleged, rather, that the defendant intended to make the contact with the victim.

Examples of Committing a Battery

A man gets into a fight with a woman, the man picks up a rock and throws it at the woman injuring her. The man can be charged with and convicted of a battery because he threw the rock, causing the rock to make an offensive contact with the woman.

A man sees a rival gang member and so he takes out his gun and shoots at the gang member barely missing him. The man cannot be convicted of battery because he did not make a harmful or offensive contact. That said, the man can be charged with the assault with a deadly weapon.

A woman is called and is asked to come down to her son’s elementary school because her son has been misbehaving. The woman is angered by what the teacher is saying, and so she spits on the teacher. Although spitting on the teacher’s shirt did not harm the teacher, the woman can be charged with and convicted of battery because she caused her saliva to touch the teacher, which satisfies the elements of battery.

A man walks into a bar and sits down next to a woman that he’s interested in. He tries to talk to her; she doesn’t want anything to do with him. She gets up and begins to walk away from him, he grabs her by the waist to flirt with her. The man can be charged with and convicted of a battery because the contact he made with the woman was offensive.

Penalties for a Conviction of a Simple Battery Charge Under 242PC

If the prosecution convicts an individual of battery charges, an individual faces the following potential penalties:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
  • Up to six months of jail time
  • A fine of up to $2000
  • Placement on misdemeanor summary probation for three to five years
  • The potential loss of your jobs and/or professional license

Note: These are the penalties for a simple battery, if the battery is more serious because it is against a police officer or causes great bodily harm, you may be charged with felony battery which is a significantly more serious offense.

Battery Defenses

If you have been charged with the crime of battery, there are a number of defenses that your attorney can use to defend you. To know which defenses apply to your case, you should contact an experienced battery defense attorney to look over the facts of your case to determine which defenses apply to your case.

  • The defendant accidentally made contact with the alleged victim
  • The alleged victim consent to the touching
  • The defendant acted in self-defense or the defense of others
  • The defendant is being falsely accused of committing a battery
  • The defendant is a victim of mistaken identity

Crimes Related to Battery Penal Code 242

  • California Penal Code Section 243(d) – Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury
  • California Penal Code Section 243(b) & 243(c)(2) – Battery on a Peace Officer or Police Officer
  • California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery
  • California Penal Code Section 243.4 – Sexual Battery

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a battery, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and fight for you. Our criminal defense attorneys have defended countless individuals charged with battery, often achieving excellent results for them. They have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.