If you are arrested and charged with the crime of Battery with Serious Bodily Injury, more commonly referred to as aggravated battery, in California you need to take the charges seriously as you could be sentenced to a term of incarceration if convicted. As is always the case, the starting point when you have been charged with a crime is to understand exactly what the state is alleging you did.
To understand the offense of aggravated battery in San Diego you must first know what constitutes a battery. California Penal Code 242 defines battery as follows:
“A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
In practical terms this means that even a slight touch, if unwanted, could constitute a battery in San Diego. A simple battery becomes an aggravated battery, under California Penal Code 243(d), if that battery inflicts “serious bodily injury”. Furthermore, “serious bodily injury” is defined as “serious impairment to one’s physical condition”. The statute does not provide a list of conditions that would qualify as serious bodily injury. Instead, it is considered on a case by case basis; however, a simple laceration would not likely qualify unless it caused lasting disfigurement whereas as bone fracture likely would qualify. It is important to note that California law also includes a definition of “great bodily injury”, or GBI, that applies to some crimes. GBI and serious bodily injury are not the same thing.
Aggravated battery is what is referred to as a “wobbler” offense in California because the State has the option to charge you with simple battery or with the more serious aggravated battery. If you are charged and convicted of aggravated battery you could be sentenced to up to a year in a county jail or to prison for two, three, or four years.
There are a number of defenses you may have if you are charged with aggravated battery in San Diego. One of the most common defenses is self-defense. Many cases in which aggravated battery is charged stem from a bar fight or some other type of physical confrontation other than a one-sided attack. If you were attacked and then defended yourself you may have a valid defense to an aggravated battery charge.
If you are charged with aggravated battery in San Diego California it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine what defenses and legal options you may have.