If you have been charged with a crime in Beverly Hills, CA, or anywhere in Los Angeles County involving the alleged infliction of corporal injury upon another person, you are facing potentially severe sentencing enhancements on top of the usual, already harsh penalties.
When crimes like assault & battery or battery domestic violence are charged with a corporal injury, or "substantial bodily harm," enhancement, the fines, prison terms, and other sentencing elements can rise dramatically.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we have been successfully defending our clients in Beverly Hills and throughout Los Angeles against all manner of bodily injury charges for many years - and we have consistently won acquittals, dismissals, charge reductions, and other positive outcomes for those we serve.
We understand the details of California law in regard to the infliction of corporal injuries, and we will know how to build you a solid defense that will win the best possible outcome in court.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin today by calling 310-273-9600, and we will give you a free legal consultation on your corporal injury case!
How Is Corporal Injury Defined Under California Law?
Any physical injury to the body of another person that resulted from the willful act of another is a form of "corporal injury" under California law. Since such injuries almost always result from an act of battery, corporal injury, also called "substantial bodily harm," is a sentencing enhancement on various California battery charges.
However, there are other violent crimes too, that can involve a substantial bodily harm enhancement, including crimes commitment with a firearm or other deadly weapon.
You may get a tougher sentence for any bodily injury inflicted, regardless of whether its "substantial" under this definition; but the most severe sentencing enhancements come from substantial bodily harm having resulted from a criminal activity.
Some examples of substantial bodily harm would be a DUI in which another person was seriously injured - which can raise the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony; or a man who beats his wife or child and causes a broken arm, leg, or concussion; or a burglar who is caught in the act by the homeowner and who then assaults and batters him, leaving him with permanent facial disfigurements.
Assault, Battery, and Corporal Injury
An act of "assault" occurs when someone makes the attempt to unlawfully and willfully inflict bodily injury on another person, while possessing the ability to do so.
"Battery" is when an assault is carried through on, at least to the point where physical contact is made with the victim, either directly or via some form of weapon or instrument used as a weapon.
A battery need not necessarily cause corporal injury to count as such; and corporal injury need not be "substantial" to bring about at least some additional penalties. The exact results can vary case by case, depending on a host of factors and on whether or not you have a strong defense attorney to counteract an over-zealous prosecuting attorney.
But here are the basic penalties for assault and battery crimes with or without some form of corporal injury inflicted, along with other factors considered:
- Simple battery, a misdemeanor offense in California, is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Community service can often replace actual jail time.
- Battery against a member of a protected class, such as police, taxi drivers, school teachers, and emergency medical workers, is a gross misdemeanor. It is punishable by a year in jail and a fine as high as $2,000.
- Battery with substantial bodily harm AND against a protected class is a Felony and can be punished by 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (The same level of charge and penalties apply if there was no such bodily harm but a deadly weapon was used OR if there was an intent to commit robbery or grand theft).
- Battery with substantial bodily harm AND with a deadly weapon is also a Felony, but the maximum prison term rises to 15 years instead of 10 years.
- Battery with intent to murder is a Felony and can get you from 2 to 20 years in state prison.
- Battery with intent to commit sexual assault AND with substantial bodily injury inflicted is a Felony in California. It can get you a $10,000 fine plus life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.
If injuries of some sort were inflicted, but were not that serious, or at least don't meet the legal mark to count as "substantial," expect lesser enhancements OR to be at the upper rather than lower end of the ordinary sentencing guidelines for that specific offense.
Battery Domestic Violence with Substantial Bodily Harm
Since corporal injury of some sort occurs more frequently with the crime of domestic battery, we will look a little more in-depth here at the charge of "Battery Domestic Violence".
Battery domestic violence is an extremely common charge filed in Beverly Hills and throughout Los Angeles. In Beverly Hills, it's not uncommon for out of state visitors to face this charge along with local residents.
BDV is essentially the same as any battery charge, except that it is committed against a spouse, romantic partner, or an ex-spouse or romantic partner or dating partner OR against any family member.
Because a violation of trust was involved to gain the advantage and the opportunity to commit battery in domestic violence cases, and because it destroys society by turning the family into a place of violence and fear instead of love and trust - therefore, battery domestic violence is punished more severely than an equivalent non-domestic battery charge would be.
However, a first-time battery domestic violence offense can usually get reduced so as to exclude actual jail time. A typical outcome might be: a fine of $200 to $1,000, from 48 to 120 hours of community service 6 to 12 months of mandatory counseling, and a threat of "instant jail" if the person out of parole gets into any additional trouble.
A second battery domestic violence offense (within seven years of the first one) may have a mandatory jail term attached to it. A third such offense could be a felony and can get you up to 5 years in state prison.
If a deadly weapon was used in committing BDV, or if strangulation was attempted, or if substantial bodily harm was inflicted, it's automatically a FELONY that can get you as much as 15 years in prison. A 1 to 5 year prison term with a $10,000 fine, however, is more typical for BDV with substantial bodily harm. It depends a lot on how serious the bodily harm was and what kind of past criminal record one has (if any.)
Common Defense Strategies
It is extremely damaging to one's reputation, besides the looming potential criminal penalties and the possible loss of one's job and/or professional license, to be accused of battery with substantial bodily harm inflicted.
If it's a domestic violence charge, then these repercussions of a mere accusation become even more acute.
And yet, it is very common for people to be falsely accused of crimes involving the infliction of corporal injury. This is especially true of battery domestic violence, but false accusation abound even outside of that category.
It's very common for police to be lied to by the other party after a 911 domestic violence call. They may arrest the wrong person or be misinformed, at least, as to who was the first aggressor.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we feel the weight of what's at stake for our clients when they face a violent crimes charge with a corporal injury enhancement. We fight for your future with tenacity and give you the full benefit of our extensive legal expertise as we handle your case.
First of all, realize that many prosecutors purposefully over-charge their cases at first. It's akin to the way bidders haggling with customer over the price start out with what they know is a very high price in the hopes to at least get an average or slightly high price in the end. Attorney Jonathan Franklin understands the "games" that prosecutors play, and he knows how to counter them and get unreasonable charges reduced, if not totally dismissed or defeated in court.
Although every case is unique, here are some examples of common defense strategies we use to win these types of cases for our clients:
- Defense of Self or Others. If you were not the first aggressor. If you acted only out of a reasonable belief that you or another person were under imminent threat of bodily harm. And if you did not use excessive force beyond what was needed to quell the danger, then it is self defense or defense of others and you are innocent even if bodily injury was inflicted on the other person.
- Accidental Injury. If you did not intend to assault or batter the other person or cause them any kind of unlawful bodily injury, then any injury they did sustain was not intended by you. Nor was any act leading to an injury, and that a reasonable person would know would likely cause injury/death, intended by you. Then it's an accident, and you are not guilty.
- Fabricated Story. If the supposed victim simply invented the story out of a spirit of revenge or because you refused to comply with some demand he/she made, we can get to the bottom of it and exposed the plaintiff's story for the fabrication it is. If it's a matter of false identification or a misunderstanding, we can work to prove to the court what really happened in those cases too. But remember that we only need to show that there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty "beyond reasonable doubt" to win your case.
- Exaggerated or Unrelated Injury. It isn't uncommon for a minor injury to be exaggerated as if "substantial" in order to punish the defendant more harshly. And it isn't all that uncommon for an injury NOT caused by the assault/battery to be introduced into court as if it had resulted from it. We have seen these tactics many times before, and we know how to defeat them.
- Violations of Your Rights. If police committed illegal search or seizures to gather evidence against you, we can make a motion pre-trial to have it suppressed. That often makes the prosecution's case "unwinnable" and induces him/her to drop it. If the police violated your rights during or following the arrest, this may also have an important bearing on the outcome of your case.
- Corporal Injury Invalid. Even when the basic charge cannot be defeated, such as assault, battery, or domestic violence, it is often possible to successfully challenge the corporal injury or substantial bodily injury element to reduce your sentence.
Contact Jonathan Franklin Today for Immediate Attention to Your Corporal Injury Defense Case!
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we have deep experience in defending against corporal injury allegations, as well as against the battery and domestic battery cases they typically are part of.
Our knowledge of the California Statutes and other relevant laws, familiarity with local Beverly Hills and Los Angeles court processes, and deep commitment to the best interests of each and every client puts us in a unique position to successfully handle any and all corporal injury defense cases in California.
For a free legal consultation on the details of your case, contact us anytime 24/7 by calling 310-273-9600!