Penal Code 242



If you or someone you love is being investigated for, arrested for, or has been charged with violating Penal Code 242 (Battery) time is not on your side. Every second that passes is vital.  Likely, the Prosecutor’s Office has already engaged their professional team to begin building their case against you.  And, depending on when you’re reading this, they could be working against you even as you’re reviewing this information. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after learning about these charges, to help you build a strong, successful defense.



Battery involves the infliction of force onto another person. This is different from assault, which is the mere threat of force.


In the State of California, Battery is governed by Penal Code 242, which states:


A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

California Penal Code 242


The Elements

In law, every charge carries with it a set of “elements” that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the elements must be proven in order to convict someone of a given crime.


The two elements to Battery in California include:


  1. You intentionally and unlawfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner;


  1. You did not act in self-defense, in defense of someone else, or while reasonably disciplining a child.


Our office is experienced at finding which elements the prosecution cannot meet, or which elements are weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and may keep the prosecution from being able to prove you guilty of Battery under California Penal Code 242.


Possible Penalties

In California, simple battery is considered a misdemeanor under 242 PC. Though it may be a misdemeanor, it can be punished as severely as felony, if the victim sustains great bodily injury.


Simple Battery (no great bodily injury): six (6) months in jail, substantial fines, probation with community service, and/or anger management counseling.


Battery with Great Bodily Injury: up to four (4) years in prison, fines, probation, community service, anger management counseling, and/or anger management counseling.



The sooner you call our office the sooner we can hear the truth about what took place.  Depending on the facts of the situation, and whether you’ve called our office soon enough, we may be able to take the facts you share with us and meet with the District Attorney to keep charges from being formally filed against you.

If charges have already been filed against you, our office is experienced at going through all of the evidence line-by-line to find discrepancies and discover all possible defenses for your case.  As with all criminal cases, most defenses target at least one of the elements stated above.  Examples of defenses in a Battery case that we may be able to find in your favor include (but are not limited to):


  • ACCIDENT: You didn’t mean to touch the other person.
  • MISTAKEN IDENTITY: You aren’t the person that touched them.
  • SELF-DEFENSE: You were protecting yourself or someone else.
  • WRONGLY ACCUSED: You were wrongly accused


Each case unique and may be better suited to one particular defense over another.  Always speak to an attorney about all of your options when deciding the defense that may be best for you.  Call the Law Office of James L. Hassey at 619-745-5555 for your FREE Consultation.