There are a number of charges tied to assault in California. All of them are related to the legal codes surrounding simple assault, found in CA Penal Code Section 240: Assault. This basic charge defines the meaning of assault in California, supporting charges like:
- California Penal Code Section 217.1(a): Assault On A Public Official
- California Penal Code Section 244: Assault With Caustic Chemicals
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1): Assault With A Deadly Weapon
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(2): Assault With A Firearm
Build your understanding of California’s assault charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Go over penalties for an assault conviction, the difference between assault and battery, and more.
California’s Definition of Assault
- Willfully Use Force Against Another Person OR
- Carry Out an Act That Would Likely Result in Force Being Applied to Another Person
Applying force against another person involves any act of touching that is considered:
This means that individuals can be charged with assault even if they aren’t attempting to hurt another person. In fact, the law says nothing about actually injuring a person. Individuals can be charged with assault simply for trying to exert force against another person.
Examples of Assault in California
Man A is out drinking with some friends when Man B begins to taunt him. Man A eventually gets angry and decides to quiet Man B down by throwing a beer mug at his head. He barely misses and the two men begin to fight. Man A could be charged with assault for throwing the mug, even though he did not successfully injure Man B.
Man C is walking home from work when he spots Man D threatening a woman. He approaches and yells at Man D to stop, but is ignored. He grabs a stick and swings it at Man D, who sees the attack coming and runs away. Man C attempted to use force, but should not face assault charges because he was acting to defend someone else from great bodily injury.
Comparing Assault and Battery
Assault involves attempting to use force against another person. Individuals who successfully use force or violence are committing battery, which is a different criminal charge in California. Assault and battery may be charged together in the state of California.
Additionally, individuals may face a number of different battery charges, depending on their exact situation. Possible charges for battery include:
- California Penal Code Section 242: Battery
- California Penal Code Section 243(b) PC and 243(c)(2): Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer
- California Penal Code Section 243(d): Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury
- California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1): Domestic Battery
All battery charges should be taken seriously, as they can lead to harsh legal penalties.
Repercussions for Basic Assault in California
The courts in California treat simple assault as a misdemeanor level offense. This means that a conviction could lead to:
- Up to Six Months of Jail Time
- Up to $1,000 in Fines
The penalties may be heightened if an individual assaults certain professionals who are carrying out their official duties. For example, an individual might face 1 year in jail and fines of $2,000 for assaulting a(n):
- EMT, Paramedic, or Lifeguard
- Law Enforcement Officer
- Firefighter or Traffic Officer
- Animal Control Officer
- Search and Rescue Technicians
Assault on parking control officers also comes with increased penalties in California.
Constructing a Defense for Assault Accusations
Assault accusations can be difficult to handle without professional legal help. You can get professional advice handling assault charges by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are charged.
A professional legal team can investigate your case and the evidence you are facing. Based on your unique situation, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue:
You Didn’t Intend to Use Force
Assault charges should only apply if you intentionally used force against another person. For example, you should not be convicted of assault if you accidentally touched someone in a way that was offensive or harmful.
You Were Protecting Yourself or Someone Else
In some cases, you may need to use force to defend yourself or someone else. The state of California permits residents to use reasonable force if they are being threatened with great bodily injury or death.
Speak with a Lawyer About Assault Accusations Now
You can get immediate legal advice about CA Penal Code Section 240: Assault charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Contact us by completing our online contact form, or calling (310) 997-4688. Our criminal defense lawyers can answer your questions and offer you advice.
Let us focus on your situation right now with a FREE initial case evaluation.