California Assault Charges
Physical violence against another person is taken very seriously in California. These types of allegations generally lead to California assault charges and/or battery charges. Assault is defined as using physical force – or threat of physical force – to harm someone. A person could be charged and convicted of assault even if he or she never touches the victim. Merely threatening to touch the victim may be sufficient to incur misdemeanor simple assault charges.
Battery is defined as an act of willfully touching someone in a harmful or offensive matter. A person may be charged with battery regardless of whether or not the victim was hurt or injured.
If you have been accused of assault or battery, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation in your corner every step of the way. A California criminal defense lawyer will be able to ensure that your rights are safeguarded throughout the entire process. An attorney will be able to analyze your case, develop a legal strategy and potentially help you obtain a charge reduction or a dismissal of all your charges.
What Is Misdemeanor Assault?
A California assault may be charged as either misdemeanor assault or felony assault – depending upon the seriousness of the offense. A person could be charged with misdemeanor simple assault, for example, if he or she merely threatens to hurt someone.
In cases of simple assault – the State must prove the following, that the defendant:
- Acted intentionally
- Knew his or her act could result in harm to someone, no matter how slight
- Was capable of harming someone through the use of force.
A conviction for simple assault in California could subject you to up to 6 months in the county jail, as well as harsh fines of up to $1,000, probation, mandatory community service, and/or required participation in a batterer’s treatment program.
What Is Felony Assault?
Several types of assaults may constitute a felony assault, including the following:
- Aggravated assault
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault with a firearm
You may be charged with deadly weapons or firearm assault charges if you use a weapon that is capable of causing serious bodily injury, harm, or death to the victim, as part of the assault. This includes hitting someone with a weapon and firing a gun at someone. It is also important to note that you may be charged with felony assault even if you possessed a firearm during an assault but never used the firearm or physically harmed anyone.
California law can punish felony assault charges very severely. A conviction for felony assault can lead to years of prison and hefty fines. These potential penalties are likely to increase significantly if the defendant assaults a peace officer, fireman, EMT, paramedic, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, or search and rescue member.
What Is Misdemeanor Battery?
Under California law, battery involves an act of willfully touching someone in a harmful or offensive manner. It is important to note that upon completion of the touching, the battery is complete. It is not necessary that a person be injured in order to be charged with a battery.
Battery, like assault, may be charged as either a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending upon the seriousness of the offense and the facts and circumstances of the case. Under California law, a simple battery is charged as a misdemeanor. The penalties upon conviction for a simple battery include a fine of up to $2,000, a six-month prison sentence in the county jail, and/or a probation term of up to 6 months. These penalties increase significantly in cases of felony battery.
Moreover, the State can increase the potential penalties if the battery victim is a police officer, a jury member or alternate, a school employee performing his or her job, or a public worker.
What Defenses Are Available to Me?
A successful defense could result in a dismissal of criminal charges. Some of the most common defenses to assault and battery charges include the following:
- Defense of others
- Lack of specific intent to cause the injury or harm, i.e. accident
- Incapability of inflicting force or harm
- False accusations by others
An experienced Sacramento defense attorney may be able to help you formulate one or more legal defenses to your assault and battery charges.
Contact a Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Assault Charges or Battery Charges
At The Chastaine Law Office, we will explain the process for you, help safeguard your legal rights while your criminal case is pending, and develop legal defAssault charges and convictions are serious. enses to your charges. Call us today at 916-932-7150 for a free initial consultation.