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    Understanding the Differences between Assault, Battery, and Aggravated Assault in California

    Posted on: December 1st, 2021 by Dod Law

    Most crimes are categorized by the severity of the action, intention, and result. Assault, battery, and aggravated assault are all types of severe crimes that lead to harsh punishments. These crimes are often charged together, which causes many individuals to use the terms interchangeably. However, all three crimes have very distinct differences that can significantly impact the consequences.

    Contact a reliable California assault and battery defense attorney immediately if you are accused of committing assault, battery, or aggravated assault within the state. They will be able to explain why your accused crime fits under one of the categories and help create a defense strategy for your case. The sooner you contact someone you trust, the more evidence and information they can gather in your defense.

    What’s the Difference between Assault, Battery, and Aggravated Assault in California?

    When you are arrested for any of the three, it’s crucial that you understand what makes them different and how they can affect the result of your case. Fines, probation, and even incarceration are all examples of penalties that a person can face if they are accused of committing any act classified as one of the three.


    California law defines an assault as an attempt and ability to commit a violent injury to another person. This means that both a violent and nonviolent attempt to harm an individual can cause you to be guilty of assault. Below are some examples:

    • Acting like they are going to hit, punch, or kick a person
    • Physically suggesting that they will harm a person with a deadly or non-deadly weapon
    • Pointing a loaded or unloaded gun at a person

    Depending on the severity of the act or intended act, a person can be convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony. This can lead to expensive fines of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence.


    While the assault is attempted violence, the battery is an actual attack. The California Penal Code 242 PC states that battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Some examples of battery include:

    • Nursing home abuse
    • Unwanted touching
    • Physical harassment

    This is why assault and battery are often charged together, as well as why many people confuse the two. However, there is a difference, and an attempt at violence can offer fewer consequences than an act of violence.

    Aggravated Assault

    When someone commits an aggravated assault, they attempt to cause severe injuries to another person. This means that you can be charged with both battery and aggravated assault if you cause a person serious harm. Aggravated assault can also mean reckless conduct or indifference to human life. This can include:

    • Hitting or threatening to hit a person with a weapon or dangerous object
    • Threatening to kill the person with a gun pointed at them
    • Assault with the intention of committing a robbery or rape
    • Assault resulting in serious harm to the individual

    When someone is driving recklessly or causing a reckless act that harms another person, they can suffer the consequences of an aggravated assault. While there are distinctions between the three charges, they are often used together in criminal law.

    Contact a Reliable California Criminal Defense Attorney at Dod Law

    A criminal case can come with complex terminology and complicated processes. Having a reliable criminal defense attorney at Dod Law, APC to help guide you through your case can significantly impact the likelihood of receiving reduced penalties. We understand that this time is stressful, and you’ll need someone to help navigate you through the legal proceedings. With 17 years of experience advocating for clients across California, Attorney Dod has the tools and resources to provide you with dependable legal services.

    Call (619) 814-5110 or fill out our contact form to learn how Attorney Dod can assist you with your case.

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    Meet Attorney Dod Ghassemkhani

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