Understanding Assault Charges in California

Man attacks a woman with a stickIn the state of California, assault is defined as the illegal attempt to harm another individual. This means that an offender should have acted in a way that could have resulted in a battery offense. The crime of battery involves the illegal use of intentional force to another individual that leads to an unwanted or offensive, contact or injury.

Types of Assault Charges and Punishments

The crime of assault does not necessarily have to involve actual contact with a victim, which means that attempting to touch, without actually succeeding in touching, a victim in an offensive way would be enough to charge someone with assault, explains a top criminal defense attorney at The Law Office Of Troy P. Owens, Jr.  in San Diego.

In California, there’s simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault involves an offender committing an assault without using a weapon and resulted in zero to a minor injury to the victim. This is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, six months in jail, and/or six months probation. Depending on who the victim was, the potential sentence could be increased to up to three years imprisonment and three years probation.

Aggravated assault, on the other hand, involves an offender committing assault with the use of deadly force and/or a weapon, including fists, legs, baseball bats, knives, or firearms. Likewise, a person could be charged with aggravated assault even if the intended victim wasn’t harmed in any way.

The state considers aggravated assault as a wobbler offense, which means that you could be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Potential penalties would include three years of prison time or up to 12 years if the offender used a deadly weapon during the assault, a hefty fine up to $10,000, restitution to victims, and/or probation for up to three years.

Getting Legal Help

With assault charges, the victim’s identity is an immensely vital factor when courts try to determine the severity of the crime and potential penalties. Any type of assault charge, however, whether it was simple or aggravated and non-violent or violent, comes with significant repercussions. Bearing this in mind, get legal aid from an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you with your case.