The Crime of “Aggravated Battery” under California Under PC 243(d)
In California, a “battery” under Penal Code 242 PC is generally described as some type of offensive touching, even a slight unwanted touch.
This means anyone who physically touches another person without their consent could be found guilty of battery.
In a situation when the offensive non-consensual touching results in serious enough injury to the victim, the crime of “battery causing serious bodily injury” under California Penal Code 243(d) could be filed.
This statute is commonly called an “aggravated battery,” which notes the fact this type of offense is more severe that a “simple battery.”
What Factors Must Be Proven for a PC 243(d) Conviction?
In order to prove a PC 243(d) charge, the prosecutor must prove that you:
- Willfully touched someone in an offensive manner, and
- Victim sustained a serious bodily injury
- It was not an act of self-defense
The difference between a PC 242 battery and a PC 243(d) aggravated battery is clearly the extent of injuries suffered by the victim.
To give readers a better understanding of the violent crime of California PC 243(d) PC aggravated battery charges, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing a review below.
What is Considered a Serious Bodily Injury in California?
The primary factor in a Penal Code 243(d) aggravated battery case is whether the victim's injuries qualify as a “serious bodily injury.”
A serious bodily injury is described as any serious impairment to the victim's physical health, but it's not required they receive medical treatment.
There are many types of injuries that can qualify as serious, including:
- Broken bones
- Impairment of organ function
- Wounds requiring stitches
It should be noted this is not a complete list of serious injuries.
Whether or not a victim's injuries are “serious” under the context of Penal Code 243(d) PC is a fact-intensive question that has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
This means the final decision of whether it's a “serious” injury has to be decided by the jury at trial.
There are PC 243(d) cases with no broken bones or loss of consciousness where the jury has returned a “guilty” verdict based on a finding that serious bodily injury did occur.
On the flip side, there have been aggravated battery cases where the victim's injuries seemed serious, like a large cut requiring several stitches, but the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict because they didn't believe there was sufficient evidence of a serious bodily injury.
What is a Great Bodily Injury Enhancement?
If you were charged with a felony case of PC 243(d) aggravated battery, the case will become more complicated if it's alleged the victim sustained a great bodily injury (GBI).
A great bodily injury is separate and distinct from a serious bodily injury. A GBI is generally described as:
- A significant or substantial physical injury
A “serious” bodily injury is a lesser standard than a GBI and not all cases of battery causing serious bodily injury will be rise to the level of a great bodily injury.
Whether the PC 243(d) aggravated battery case involved a great bodily injury is yet another fact-based determination that a jury will have to decide at trial.
The GBI sentencing enhancement under California Penal Code 12022.7 PC means you could be facing additional time in jail.
If the jury decides the injuries suffered by the victim rose to the level of a great bodily injury, then you could face an additional three to six years in a California state prison.
What are the Penalties for a PC 243(d) Conviction?
Penal Code 243(d) PC battery causing serious bodily injury is a California “wobbler” that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony crime.
The filing prosecutor will normally base their decision on the following factors:
- Specific details of the case
- Defendant's criminal history
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor PC 243(d) case, the penalties include:
- A maximum of one year in county jail, and/or
- A $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments, or both
- Summary probation
If you are convicted of a felony aggravated battery case, the penalties include:
- A maximum of two, three, or four years in state prison, and/or
- A $10,000 fine plus penalty assessments, or both
- Formal probation
Also, if you are convicted of aggravated battery, then it will result in the loss of your ability to own or possess a firearm.
What are the Related California Offenses for PC 243(d)?
- Penal Code 240 PC – assault
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery
- Penal Code 243(b) PC – battery on a police officer
- Penal Code 243.4 PC – sexual battery
- Penal Code 245(a)(1) – assault with deadly weapon
- Penal Code 273.5 PC– corporal injury on spouse
- Penal Code 368 PC – elder abuse
How Can I Fight Aggravated Battery Charges?
If you were accused of Penal Code 243(d) PC aggravated battery, our Los Angeles criminal lawyers can use several common defenses:
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Injury caused by accident
- Injury wasn't serious
We might be able to argue you were responding to the victim's aggression and were forced to use self-defense to prevent imminent bodily injury or death.
Also, we might be able to prove that while you may have committed an assault, the injuries suffered by the victim were not "serious."
This type of argument could result in the prosecutor reducing the charges to a simple misdemeanor battery case under Penal Code 242, which carries much lower penalties.
A California Penal Code 243(d) PC charge of battery causing serious bodily injury should not be taken lightly, especially if the prosecutor is alleging a great bodily injury enhancement. A felony conviction can lead to severe consequences.
If you were arrested and charged with violating PC 243(d), contact our experienced team of Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers for a consultation.
Through pre-court intervention, we might be able to persuade the prosecutor not to file formal criminal charges before court.
Eisner Gorin LLP is a criminal defense law firm located at 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067.
Our main office is next to the Van Nuys Superior Court at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Contact our office to review your case at (877) 781-1570.