Assault & Battery

People often use the phrase “assault and battery” as a collective term, but, as a Walnut Creek assault lawyer can explain, assault and battery are actually two separate and distinct criminal offenses under the California Penal Code.


The definition of a simple assault is “the unlawful intent, coupled with the present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” What is important to understand about an assault, as a Walnut Creek assault lawyer emphasizes, is that an individual need not make any contact with another person or cause any injury to them to be charged with assault. Simple assault is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to six months in jail and $1000 in fines.

Felony assault charges may be filed based on the facts and circumstances of the case such as assault with a deadly weapon or assault with a firearm. Additionally, enhancements and aggravating factors can increase the penalties, if, for instance, a police officer or firefighter is the victim of the assault.


A simple battery is willful, unlawful touching of another person. To be guilty of a simple battery, the other person need not be injured or harmed. Additionally, a battery can be charged if the “touching” was through the victim’s clothing or through an object that was used by the person accused of the battery. For an action to be a battery, the touching must be done in a harmful or offensive manner. Simple battery is most often charged as a misdemeanor.

More serious battery offenses include battery causing serious bodily injury, battery on a police officer, domestic battery and sexual battery.

Contact a Walnut Creek Assault Lawyer for Legal Advice

If you have been charged with an assault or battery, you need to understand your legal rights and explore your options.