An assault is an unlawful act of inflicting unwanted physical contact or physical harm upon a victim. Such can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the offense. You do not need to have physical contact before you can have assault charges. An attempt or menacing threat to inflict such serious injury is enough for the perpetrator to be charged with assault. An assault charge is both a tort and a crime that may result in civil liability, criminal prosecution, or both.
What is an Aggravated Assault in California?
As mentioned above, assault can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It is a misdemeanor when the act done is a simple assault that is not serious such as punching and missing, or someone threatens to throw a branch and injure you during a heated argument but ultimately decided not to proceed to throw it.
However, when you intentionally cause serious physical injury to an alleged victim, that will constitute aggravated assault. Some examples of aggravated include:
- Threatening or striking a person using a dangerous object or weapon (assault with a deadly weapon).
- Using or shooting firearms or threatening to kill someone while a firearm is pointed at him.
- Committing assault with the intent to commit another crime such as homicide, rape, burglary, robbery, or other crimes that require the use of force.
- Assault that resulted in serious bodily harm.
- Assault using caustic chemicals causing bodily harm such as disfigurement.
- Assaulting someone while hiding one’s identity.
- Assaulting a police officer, enforcement officer, peace officer, or any other law enforcement officers.
- Assaulting a disabled, elderly person (elder abuse), or anyone suffering from such impairment.
- Assaulting a health care provider
- Assaulting a social service worker
- Assaulting a sports official engaged in his duties.
California Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault charges are considered as “wobblers” in California which can be classified as:
- Misdemeanor assault – is punishable with up to 1 year of imprisonment in the county jail.
- Felony assault – aggravated felonious assault has the punishment of jail time up to 4 years in the State prison.
Other penalties include probation, fines, restitution, and anger management programs. California has a “Three Strike Law” where if the perpetrator already had 2 prior convictions for felony charges or violent crimes on your criminal record, your penalty may include being sentenced from 25 years up to life.
A convicted person can acquire expungement for his records if:
- A county jail term or probation has been granted to him.
- He completed the jail term or probation successfully.
If the offender is sentenced to State prison, records expungement is not an option.
What are the Criminal Defenses Available?
The following can be legal defenses in California assault cases:
- No crime has been committed – in a criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proof that the assaulter assaulted someone. If the prosecutor fails to prove that an assault has been committed, you will have a chance in dismissing the case.
- Self-defense or defending others – is a right that everyone has in case of danger. If you can prove that you are acting in self-defense, your act will be deemed lawful, and your case will be dismissed.
- No intent – criminal charges of aggravated assault require the offender to have knowingly and recklessly acted to cause bodily injury to the victim. Acts due to negligence are not intentional and hence, there should be no aggravated assault.
Talking with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in California
If you are being charged with assault and battery, having a defense lawyer to guide you and provide you legal representation will be beneficial. We at The Chastaine Law Office will help you to the best of our ability and provide you with our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Gold River. Call us now for a free consultation.