Can you commit battery in California simply by pushing someone?
Your supervisor was giving out a limited number of tickets to a football game when Sam, your coworker, elbowed his way in front of you as you stood in line.
You pushed Sam who then accused you of battery. Sam is a loudmouth who is always complaining about something, but is he right about this?
The definition under the law
You often hear the term “assault and battery,” but these are two different crimes. Assault means to attempt to use force or violence on another person. Battery refers to the actual use of force or violence. According to California Penal Code 242 PC, battery is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” So, even if Sam suffered no pain or injury, you could stand accused of battery simply because you touched him in an offensive way. You could have spit on Sam and the result would be the same: a possible battery charge.
Simple battery is a misdemeanor. In most cases, the penalty would be probation, a fine of up to $2,000 or jail time of up to six months. However, if you caused a significant injury to Sam, you would face a charge of battery causing serious bodily injury under Penal Code 243(d) PC with enhanced penalties.
If Sam wants to pursue this matter in court, your criminal defense attorney would develop a strategy to fight the battery charge. For example, you could provide witnesses to verify that Sam cut in front of you in line and you did not act willfully when you pushed him.