Battery with Serious Bodily Injury California Penal Code 243 PC


Actual Case #1

In People v. Ernesto O. - Case No. BA417992, my client was arrested for not only Battery and Assault with a Deadly Weapon but Mayhem also. My client, a musician, was facing a lot of prison time as a result of this incident. What happened was that he was previously living in a youth hostile type arrangement when he relocated to another residence. He had left his musical equipment at his old place and he went to go pick it up one night. The new tenant decided that finders really meant keepers and he refused to give my client his property. A fight ensued. The new tenant was about twice the size of my client. It was alleged that my client stabbed the new tenant in the back with a knife and picked up a claw hammer and repeatedly hit him about the face and head leaving permanent disfiguring scars on the new tenants face which was how the D.A. was able to file a Mayhem charge against my client. Outcome: At the preliminary hearing I flushed out some very important facts, namely that the "victim" was a chef and that he always kept plenty of knives in his apartment where the fight occurred. A very crafty defense attorney by the name of Derek Devermont was co-counsel on this case with me and he was instrumental in working out a deal where my client received a misdemeanor ADW, served NO JAIL time and only had to pay the victim about $2,000.00 for medical expenses. We saved my client double-digit prison time and he is now living a music inspired productive life.

Actual Case #2

In People v. Hewitt - Case No. SCN 315597, Mr Hewitt was charged with the crime of Resisting the Arrest of a police officer while causing the cop Great Bodily Injury (broken nose and two front teeth kicked out of her face). The police officer "victim" wrote in her report and stated on the witness stand under oath that when she was detaining my clients girlfriend for littering at the Oceanside Harbor campground, that my client exited the rear of his motor home and challenged the cop to a fight by maintaining a fighting stance. The cop also stated that my client, Mr. Hewitt, was drunk i.e., intoxicated in public, which caused her to feel the need to detain Mr. Hewitt. So she called for back up when at least 5 other Oceanside Police officers showed up and tackled Mr. Hewitt to the ground and tazed him at least 10 times as he was on the ground. The "victim" cop stated that she was trying to maintain control of Mr. Hewitt's legs when he intentionally kicked her in the face causing a broken nose and the loss of her two front teeth.

What really happened is that this cop has a history of being heavy handed with campers at the Oceanside Harbor campground as testified to by an employee of the campground who knew of her reputation for being a bully. The cop unlawfully detained Mr. Hewitt and his girlfriend for no apparent legal reason but to further her bullying of campers who were peacefully camping minding their own business. Mr. Voll, was able to show to the jury that Mr. Hewitt was tackled by the back up officers and repeatedly tazed for no legal reason. Even though the initial complaining officer did get kicked in the face and suffered a broken nose and the loss of her two front teeth, 3 jurors maintained their position that Mr. Hewitt was not guilty of this charge and the case was declared a mistrial by the Trial Judge. Mr. Hewitt is still a free man pending the re-trial or disposition of this matter. Outcome: the case against Mr. Hewitt was disposed of for a Misdemeanor California Penal Code section 148(a) - Resisting Arrest. No restitution was ordered, Mr. Hewitt was given 2 days time served and only had to pay a $655.00 fine and was ordered to be on Informal Probation for 3 years.  


In California, simple battery is defined according to the state's penal code section 242 PC. It defines simple battery as an unlawful or unwanted physical contact. This means that the degree of touching does matter. Even a slight touching constitutes simple battery. However, the law recognizes that battery offenses can vary from little to no injury to serious injury. That is why the latter, battery with serious bodily injuries, are penalized more severely.

California Penal Code Section 243(d) PC defines aggravated battery. It is unlawful for anyone to commit battery that causes a victim serious bodily injury. The term "aggravated battery" and "battery with serious bodily injury" are used interchangeably.

What is serious bodily injury?

Causing serious bodily injury means a person seriously impaired the victim's physical condition. Impairment includes, but is not limited to the following injuries:

  • Impairment of a body part.
  • Impairment of an organ.
  • Concussion.
  • Loss of consciousness, concussion.
  • Wound that requires extensive stitches.
  • Bone fractures, impairment of an organ or body part.

Police may be accused of battery serious bodily injury. He or she may be arrested and charged, but does that mean a conviction is a foregone conclusion? No. To prove a defendant is guilty of battery causing serious bodily injury, a prosecutor shows the following elements:

  • The defendant willfully touched the victim in an offensive or harmful way.
  • As the result of the forced used by the defendant, the victim suffered serious bodily injury.
  • AND the defendant did not have legal justification to willfully touch the victim in a harmful or offensive way. Legal justification involves defense of others, self-defense and reasonably disciplining a child.

Penalties for Aggravated Battery Conviction If convicted of battery causing serious bodily injury, you may be sentenced according to the misdemeanor or felony offense. According to California law, battery causing serious bodily injury is a “wobbler.” So a person accused of this crime can face the misdemeanor or felony charge. Both have different punishments. Let's look at the misdemeanor punishment first. Misdemeanor battery causing serious bodily injury is punishable by:

  • At least one year in county jail and/ or
  • Fine of up to $1,000.

For felony aggravated battery penalties include:

  • Up to four years in county jail, and/or
  • Fine of up to $10,000.

An aggravated battery misdemeanor conviction means that the defendant would not be able to own or purchase a handgun for 10 years. However, penalties are tougher if convicted of felony aggravated battery. The defendant would be prohibited from gun ownership for life. Related Offenses Other similar or related offenses to aggravated battery. They are:

  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon - California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1)
  • Assault - California Penal Code Section 240 PC
  • Domestic Battery - California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC
  • Battery - California Penal Code Section 242 PC
  • Sexual Battery - California Penal Code Section 243.4 PC

Legal defenses for Aggravated Battery No one facing aggravated battery should attend a criminal pretrial process or a criminal jury trial without a lawyer. If you are charged with PC 243(d) battery causing serious bodily injury, contact a lawyer who knows the best way to defend against the charge. Some common aggravated battery defenses include:

  • Self-defense. Self-defense law allows a person to use force to defend themselves when faced with a threat of immediate physical harm.
  • Defense of others. Defense of other applies when using force to protect someone else.
  • The “battery” was an accident. If the injury resulted from unintentional physical contact, it would be an accident defense. Battery causing serious bodily injury requires a defendant acting willfully.
  • Injuries sustained were not serious. There was slight harm done to the victim. The injury was not serious and would not be aggravated battery.

Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury Cases - Criminal Defense Attorney Aggravated battery or battery causing serious bodily injury is a severe offense with extensive consequences for anyone convicted. If you have been charged with or arrested for aggravated battery, it is critical that you talk with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately. You may have extenuating circumstances which may convince a prosecutor or police officer to dismiss the case. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Voll is a former public defender experienced in battery cases. Mr. Voll brings his extensive experience and knowledge to each case he accepts. Also Mr. Voll works hard to ensure the best possible outcome for all of his clients. When you are accused of battery, you need the Law Offices of Jeff Voll. Schedule your free consultation, by contacting the Law Offices of Jeff Voll located at 3640 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 410, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Mr. Voll can be reached at 323-467-6400 night or day.

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