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Penal Code 243 PC | Penalties for Battery


Penal Code 243 PC – Penalties for Battery

What’s up! This article will explain the penalties for battery under California law. We’ll break it down in simple terms, looking at the different types of battery and what you can expect if charged. No fancy legal talk here!

What is Battery Under California Law?

Battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence on someone else. Let’s break that down:

  • You intentionally touched someone else
  • The touching was harmful or offensive
  • You had no legal right to touch them

The touching itself doesn’t have to hurt or injure the other person. As long as it was offensive, it can be charged as battery.

Types of Battery

There are a few different battery offenses under California law:

  • Simple Battery – The basic battery charge under PC 242. No injury required.
  • Battery on a Peace Officer – Battery against a cop or other protected public official under PC 243b/c.
  • Domestic Battery – Battery against a spouse, cohabitant, or coparent under PC 243e.
  • Aggravated Battery – Battery that causes serious bodily injury under PC 243d.

The penalties depend on what type of battery you are charged with.

Simple Battery Penalties

For simple battery under PC 242, it is a misdemeanor punishable by:

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  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Informal probation

Simple battery has the lowest penalties. But it can still have big consequences, especially if you have prior convictions.

Battery on a Peace Officer

Battery against cops, firefighters, EMTs and other public safety officials is more serious. Penalties under PC 243b/c include:

  • Misdemeanor: 1 year in county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
  • Felony: Up to 3 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $10,000 (if injury).

Felony battery on an officer can also count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Domestic Battery Penalties

For domestic battery under PC 243e against a spouse, cohabitant or coparent, you may be able to get probation and take domestic violence classes instead of jail. But it depends on your criminal history and the facts of the case.

Aggravated Battery Penalties

Aggravated battery under PC 243d is also a wobbler offense. If charged/convicted as a:

  • Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
  • Felony: 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

This is charged when the battery causes serious bodily injury like a bone fracture, concussion, or deep cut needing stitches.


Sentences for any battery conviction can be enhanced if:

  • You have a prior battery conviction
  • You inflicted great bodily injury
  • A deadly weapon was used

Enhancements add additional years to your sentence. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential to try avoiding enhancements.


There are defenses that can fight battery charges, like:

  • Self-Defense – You used reasonable force to defend yourself or someone else
  • Accident – The touching occurred on accident
  • False Accusations – The alleged victim is lying about what happened

An attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed by raising one of these defenses.

Recent Changes

In 2020, penalties for domestic battery and battery on custodial officers were increased. Domestic battery now requires a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail. And battery on a custodial officer like a prison guard can now be charged as a felony even if no injury occurred.


Let’s look at some real case examples of different types of battery:

  • People v. Cook – Cook was convicted of simple battery for shoving a man during a bar fight. He got 90 days in jail.
  • People v. Flores – Flores punched a police officer while being detained. He was convicted of felony battery on a peace officer with a 16 month prison sentence.
  • People v. Anderson – Anderson broke his girlfriend’s nose during an argument. He took a plea deal for misdemeanor domestic battery with 3 years probation.

Get Legal Help

Don’t take chances if you are charged with any type of battery offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.


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