When you think of felony assault and battery charges, you probably envision murderous weapons like guns and knives, not french fries. The California Penal Code defines assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on [another] person.” Battery is similarly defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon [another] person.”
Are french fries capable of inflicting a “violent injury?” When James Hackett and his wife began arguing after purchasing a meal at McDonald’s, his 11-year old stepdaughter attempted to stop their arguing. This angered Hackett, who allegedly then grabbed the container of french fries and threw them at her; they hit her in the face and chest.
Prosecutors claim that because Hackett was able and attempted to commit a “violent” injury on his stepdaughter, and because the french fries struck her, he was charged with both assault and battery. The nature of the “weapon” was unusual, but because they were hot and oily, they could conceivably lead to injury, especially when striking the face. The girl was not, however, harmed in this incident.
After arriving home, Hackett fled the residence on his motorcycle, and he was later tracked down and arrested by police. He is now free on bail after pleading not guilty to both charges. He returns to court in August for a pretrial hearing.
As we’ve seen, those arrested for violent felonies are often not seen as “violent felons.” Family members who act out in anger during an argument are treated equally under California law. When police arrive to learn that an assault or battery has taken place, coupled with sufficient evidence, they will make an arrest and criminal charges will be filed, even if the “weapon” was a french fry.
If you or a loved one are arrested for assault and/or battery, call Orange County criminal attorney Staycie R. Sena for a free consultation at (949) 477-8088.