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Battery with Serious Bodily Injury (Battery) Penal Code Section 243

The consequences of a battery conviction, especially battery that causes serious bodily injury can be serious and significant effects on your life. Law enforcement and prosecutors treat violent crimes against persons seriously, and this can result in imprisonment, an extensive amount of court fines, and compensation to the alleged victim. The main factors contributing to battery with serious bodily injury include a bar fight with friends or domestic household disputes with a cohabitant. If you or your loved one has been charged with this crime, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed completely.

Pasadena Criminal Attorney defends those accused of battery causing serious bodily injury. If you are in this fix, you need an attorney with a proven track record of trying these cases, and you can find that in our law firm. Our attorneys have an extensive knowledge of the law and the legal system. We understand the serious nature of this offense, and we will employ every defense strategy possible and resolve your case without you going to jail. To schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena Criminal Attorney today. We can be reached 24/7 at 626-689-2277.

Battery with serious bodily injury, also referred to as aggravated battery, is mentioned in Penal Code Section 243 (d) under the California Law. For you to be charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, you must have first violated Penal Code Section 242 which involves simple battery. The difference between Penal Code 243 (d and Penal Code Section 242 is that one involves causing bodily harm to the victim while the latter does not.

Elements of Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury

For you to be found guilty of PC 243(d) charge, there are some elements that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. These elements include:

  • You committed all the elements of simple battery (including harmful, offensive, wilful, or unlawful touching). 
  • You used force that caused the complainant serious bodily harm.

An In-Depth Explanation of These Elements

  • Touching

According to Penal Code Section 243 (d), touching entails even the slightest physical contact; whether it’s indirect or direct physical contact. Even when a person touches the other through their clothing, it is still considered to be touching. If touching the other person causes them physical injury, it becomes an aggravated battery. Also, when one causes another person to do the touching or causes an object to touch the person of another, it is considered to be aggravated battery provided that it causes serious injuries.

  • Harmful or Offensive

For a touching to be considered as an aggravated battery under Penal Code 243 (d), it must have been accomplished in a harmful or offensive manner. Therefore, any contact that appears to be disrespectful, mean, violent, angry or rude is within the section provided it causes an injury. So it must be offensive in nature and must result in an injury. If a person gets hurt by the other when the two people are playing together, it cannot be considered as aggravated battery. This is because the touching that resulted to the other person getting hurt was not offensive or harmful.

  • Willfully

Acting wilfully under PC 243(d) means that the person committed the act wilfully or intentionally. Even though you did not mean to cause injury to the other person by touching them but eventually caused them harm, it is considered as battery with serious bodily harm.

  • Serious Bodily Harm

Serious bodily harm can be defined as an impairment that affects one’s physical condition. This includes injuries such as bone fracture, impairment of body organs, serious wounds, loss of consciousness and serious disfigurement.                          

Instances When Battery with Serious Injuries May Apply

If you have never had a chance of witnessing the proceedings of a battery case, here are some examples of indicating what they entail;

First instance: Two men who are drinking in a bar happen to argue over something and the argument results into a fight. As they are confronting each other, one of them gets hold of a wine bottle, breaks it and bruises the other on the forehead causing massive bleeding. The guy who is bleeding is taken to a hospital, where the doctors give him some several stitches. Here, the guy who inflicted the injury can be charged with battery with serious bodily harm. He might have done so under the influence of alcohol, but that does not exempt his actions pursuant to Penal Code 243 (d).

Second instance: A woman is strolling aimlessly along a certain street lane. An idle man notices her handbag is held loosely and decides to make his move. As he attempts to snatch the bag from the lady, the strap gets strangled in her hand forcing him to use a huge amount of force. In the event, the woman’s arm dislocates leading her to seek medical attention. The man in this scenario can be charged with battery with serious bodily harm. It might not have been the guy’s intention to dislocate the woman’s arm, but as long as she can prove that the guy pulled her arm willingly in pursuit of her handbag, the guy can be found guilty. 

Instance three: A lady gets mad at her boyfriend for flirting with one of her friends and decides to threaten him so that he does not repeat the action some other time. She takes an iron and draws it towards him as he is coming out of the bathroom. The guy slips and hits the sink injuring his head badly. It is possible for the lady to be charged with a 243 (d) offense. However, the prosecution has to prove that the lady was willing to inflict pain on the boyfriend and she did it in a way that was offensive in nature.

All these instances resemble most of the battery cases that occur in California. A case may be a little bit different, but the scenarios only deviate from the fore-mentioned cases slightly.

What Serious Bodily Injury Means

Any person who has been charged with 243 (d) can only plead guilty if the prosecution proves that the plaintiff actually suffered serious bodily harm. It’s important to note that not every injury qualifies as serious harm. For an injury to be considered as serious, the alleged victim must have suffered a physical condition or impairment. Serious does not necessarily mean that the victim has to visit a hospital or a clinic to seek medical assistance. Injuries which qualify as serious bodily injuries include fractures in the bone, broken bones, impairment in any body organ, loss of consciousness, disfigurement, and wounds that force someone to be stitched.

A very small difference might disqualify an injury as serious. It’s all about how it is interpreted by the jury. For example, if a person throws a knife at another and it causes a cut on the person’s forehead, it will not cut deep, and the person will not need stitches. The knife also causes no harm to the eyes, nose and other parts. In such an instance, the jury will most likely not find the person guilty of battery with serious bodily injury. However, if the person had a previous assault with a deadly weapon record, the chances of conviction are high. The scenario may also be pictured as spousal battery where the assaulted spouse sustains an injury. As long as the injury does affect the proper functioning of any body organ, it cannot be considered as a serious injury. However, it’s upon the jury to decide what constitutes serious bodily injury in each individual case.

Punishment for Battery Causing Serious Injury

Battery Causing Serious Injury is a wobbler, and this means that the discretion to charge someone with a misdemeanor or felony lies upon the prosecution. This means that it can wobble down to a misdemeanor or wobble up to a felony. Factors that the prosecution will look at in making this determination include the defendant’s prior criminal record and the seriousness of the facts of the case especially regarding the level of injury received. Penalties will vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances of the individual case. For instance, the penalty for a battery causing serious bodily injury committed by a previous violent offender using a gun may be different, and perhaps more serious, than that of a case involving a first time offender and a pocket knife.

If convicted of aggravated battery as a felony, the potential punishment include:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in county jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Felony (formal) probation
  • A “strike” on your record under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Restitution to the victim
  • Protective or stay away order imposed
  • Temporary loss of search and seizure rights
  • Immigration consequences

If convicted of aggravated battery as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • Misdemeanor (summary) probation
  • Immigration consequences
  • Anger management counseling
  • Compensation to the victim
  • Protective or stay away order imposed

Sentence Enhancement

Sentence enhancement occurs if normal circumstances of a crime have been exceeded and it would be too lenient to impose the maximum penalty described within a specified Penal Code. A sentence enhancement for Penal code 243 (d)can be imposed when the jury finds the presence of “great bodily injury.” In this case, the enhancement is an additional three (3) to six (6) years in state prison in addition to the penalty for battery causing serious injury.

Great bodily injury is a significant or substantial physical injury. Compared to serious bodily injury, it has a much higher threshold as it involves the impairment of a physical function. For one to be convicted under Penal Code 243(d), there must be a serious injury present such as a broken bone or concussion. However, great bodily injury sentence enhancement is applicable if there’s a more significant injury present. For instance, battery that results in the victim being paralyzed can be termed as battery with great bodily injury.

Defenses That One May Present When Facing Aggravated Battery Charges

When charged with battery resulting in serious bodily harm, there are various defenses that your attorney can apply. Some of them include:

  • Self-defense or defense of another

If you’re accused of violating Penal Code Section 243 (d) in a scenario where you were defending yourself, there is no way the jury can find you guilty. However, you must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you believed you or another person was in immediate danger. Also, you had to act fast and use force to defend against that danger. You must also prove that the amount of force that you opted to use was reasonably necessary for the scenario.

  • Non-serious Injury

Your defense attorney can argue that the victim did not suffer serious bodily injury but suffered minor to moderate harm. For this defense to apply in your case, our attorneys will obtain the medical records of the victim. Also, we will work with a defense medical expert to testify on your behalf and negate the level of injuries as suggested by the accuser.

  • Accidental Battery

You can also convince the jury that the injury was non-intentional and happened accidentally. In this defense, you have to show that you did not intend to inflict the force on the alleged victim and the serious bodily injury occurred accidentally. If you prove this, you cannot be found under the violation of Penal Code Section 243 (d). You can, however, be convicted of simple battery if you caused harm to another person regardless of whether it was intentional or unintentional.

How Pasadena Criminal Attorney Can Help You with Your Aggravated Battery Case

Many times, persons accused of aggravated battery are overly charged, or worse yet, innocent individuals end up being convicted of such a violent crime. The reason for this is the failure of the police to conduct a full investigation. Fortunately for you, you will have Pasadena Criminal Attorney to help you out of this. We work with experts in different fields to gather evidence that will serve to prove your innocence. For us to collect the evidence necessary for your defense, time will be of the essence and the sooner you contact us, the higher the chances. Our defense team is comprised of the most aggressive, experienced, and winning attorneys. During this period, it’s critical to ensure that you don’t give any statement to the police. Call 626-689-2277 now for a free, confidential consultation on your rights and defenses.

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