the State Bar of California
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Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury / Aggravated Battery

“Battery causing serious bodily injury”, also known as “aggravated battery, is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. “Seriously bodily injury” refers to a serious impairment of a person’s physical condition, including, but not limited to broken bones, concussions, loss of consciousness, injuries requiring extensive suturing, and the like. This offense is generally charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 243, subdivision (d).

As a misdemeanor, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus court costs. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum of four years in county jail pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h) and a fine of up to $10,000, plus court costs. The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the egregiousness of the alleged conduct involved; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history, if any.

In many instances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony battery causing serious bodily injury charges, they also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. as well. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted, this allegation adds an additional minimum of three years to your custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. If admitted or found to be true, this allegation also has the effect of making the underlying conviction a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. This means that unless you are granted probation in the current case, you will be sentenced to serve your custody in state prison as opposed to county jail, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h). It could also have the collateral consequence of doubling any sentence you may receive in certain other felony convictions that may occur in the future. This is true even if you later apply to have your underlying conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, et seq., and that request is granted. If the expunged conviction is a “strike” offense, it will still count as a strike for purposes of enhanced punishment in the future.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to fight “the system” alone by trying to take matters into your own hands. You need a skilled and experienced attorney who understands how to evaluate the evidence in your case and explore any potential defenses that may exist in the law.

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges for battery involving serious bodily injury or aggravated battery, contact your Temecula/Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

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