Show notes for ep #39: Assault & Battery


Hello and welcome to Learning the Law, a podcast about all things legal with a focus on current events where we try to teach you things in an hour. My name is Ashley aka PhoenixNymphy and my co-host who is the man of the hour, my husband Ron. This podcast is purely educational and should not be taken as legal advice, this podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship, this podcast is based on our interpretation of relevant law. Any opinions expressed are the opinions of the individual making them and do not reflect the opinions of any firm, company, or other individuals. Ron is a licensed practicing attorney in the state of California.

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  1. Our Weeks
  2. Questions from the audience (if there are any)
  3. Topic of the week – Assault and Battery
    1. Oscars slap
    2. What is the difference between assault and battery?

Assault – California Penal Code 240 PC defines the crime of assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1000.00.

Battery (as defined in Penal Code 242 PC) consists of the actual use of unlawful force or violence against someone else (as opposed to just an attempt to do so).

You can think of an assault as being in fear of an imminent  battery, and a battery the actual successful use of violence.

Possible Defenses – There are some cases in which the defendant can claim a defense to the charge of battery. Some examples of potential defenses include:

  • Self Defense: When claiming self defense as a defense to battery charges, the defendant must have only used an equal amount of force that was used against them in order to be successful. Additionally, the defendant could not have acted first, but rather in retaliation;
  • Intoxication: In order for intoxication to serve as a successful defense, the intoxication must generally be involuntary intoxication. This means that the defendant was not responsible for their intoxication and therefore their actions;
  • Coercion: If the defendant was forced to commit a battery because they were under threat of harm, either to themselves or a loved one, this fact could serve as a defense;
  • Privilege: Specific classes of people are granted the right to commit battery, simply by virtue of their job. An example of this would be how police officers can get away with committing battery when they claim that it was essential to performing their job as directed; and/or
  • Consent: A person cannot charge another person with battery if they authorized the offensive or harmful touching. A common example of this would be participating in contact sports, such as American football.


Thank you so much for listening to learning the law. If you liked this podcast and want to hear more, don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and share in all your favorite places.. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at Learning the Law, Ron on at Necrokijo and Ashley at PhoenixNymphy. If you have any questions please tweet, comment, or email at This has been a Two Lazy Dogs production.

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