When a person is charged with placing or throwing caustic chemicals on someone else in violation of Penal Code section 244, the prosecutor needs to prove the following elements of the crime:
(1) The defendant willfully and maliciously placed, threw, caused to be placed, or caused to be thrown any caustic chemical, corrosive acid, flammable substance, or vitriol on someone else;
(2) The defendant’s voluntary act was intended to injure the flesh of or disfigure the other person’s body; and
(3) The defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else.
If the defendant’s conduct was to use proportional force to prevent any further attack by the alleged victim or a third party, then the defendant’s conduct is a defense against Penal Code 244. Moreover, the defendant’s conduct must be willful and malicious. If the defendant did not know that the liquid was a caustic chemical, then the conduct again is not a violation of PC 244. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to disturb, defraud, annoy, or injure someone else.
A caustic chemical is defined as a substance capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue. A flammable substance includes gasoline, petroleum products, or flammable liquids with a flashpoint of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
The punishment for Penal Code 244 is listed under Penal Code 245(a)(1) as punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment. Punishment will be depending on the circumstances and events as well as the gravity of the injuries, ability of recovery, restitution, relationship, pattern of behavior, past conduct, mitigating circumstances as well as plausible defenses.
If you are under investigation or arrested for assault or battery in Los Angeles, call Attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a defense consultation.