CALCRIM No. 960. Simple Battery (Pen. Code, § 242)

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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(iv) Simple Battery
960.Simple Battery (Pen. Code, § 242)
The defendant is charged with battery [in violation of Penal Code section
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
1. The defendant willfully [and unlawfully] touched
<insert name> in a harmful or offensive manner(;/.)
<Give element 2 when instructing on self-defense, defense of another, or
reasonable discipline.>
2. The defendant did not act (in self-defense/ [or] in defense of
someone else/ [or] while reasonably disciplining a child).]
Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on
purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt
someone else, or gain any advantage.
The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in
a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including
through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching does not have to
cause pain or injury of any kind.
[The touching can be done indirectly by causing an object [or someone
else] to touch the other person.]
New January 2006; Revised August 2013, February 2014, March 2017
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction defining the elements of the
If there is sufficient evidence of self-defense or defense of another, the court has a
sua sponte duty to instruct on the defense. Give bracketed element 2, the bracketed
words “and unlawfully” in element 1, and any appropriate defense instructions. (See
CALCRIM Nos. 3470-3477.)
If there is sufficient evidence of reasonable parental discipline, the court has a sua
sponte duty to instruct on the defense. Give bracketed element 2, the bracketed
words “and unlawfully” in element 1, and CALCRIM No. 3405, Parental Right to
Punish a Child.
Give the bracketed paragraph on indirect touching if that is an issue.
Elements. Pen. Code, § 242; see People v. Martinez (1970) 3 Cal.App.3d 886,
889 [83 Cal.Rptr. 914] [harmful or offensive touching].
Willful Defined. Pen. Code, § 7(1); People v. Lara (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 102,
107 [51 Cal.Rptr.2d 402].
Least Touching. People v. Myers (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 328, 335 [71 Cal.Rptr.2d
518] [citing People v. Rocha (1971) 3 Cal.3d 893, 899-900, fn. 12 [92 Cal.Rptr.
172, 479 P.2d 372]].
Defense of Parental Discipline. People v. Whitehurst (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1045,
1051 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 33].
Assault. Pen. Code, § 240.
Touching of Something Attached to or Closely Connected with Person
The committee could not locate any authority on whether it is sufficient to commit a
battery if the defendant touches something attached to or closely connected with the
person. Thus, the committee has not included this principle in the instruction.
Battery Against Elder or Dependent Adult
When a battery is committed against an elder or dependent adult as defined in Penal
Code section 368, with knowledge that the victim is an elder or a dependent adult,
special punishments apply. (Pen. Code, § 243.25.)
Related Instruction
CALCRIM No. 917, Insulting Words Are Not a Defense.
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against the
Person, §§ 12-16.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 142, Crimes
Against the Person, § 142.12 (Matthew Bender).
961-964. Reserved for Future Use

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