Assault is a criminal act that involves taking an action that could harm another person. “Simple” assault is considered a misdemeanor. However, there are many specific legal codes used in California to prosecute different forms of assault as a felony. One example of felony assault is covered under California Penal Code Section 244: Assault with Caustic Chemicals.
Go over the unique nature of PC 244 charges and focus on how it compares to simple assault. You can also get information from the Simmrin Law Group about some defense strategies used to address assault with caustic chemicals charges.
The Definition of Assault with Caustic Chemicals
Individuals can be charged under PC 244 if they act willfully and maliciously to place or throw the following substances at another person:
- Caustic Chemicals
- Corrosive Substances
- Flammable Substances
- Vitriol (Sulfuric Acid and Related Compounds)
Individuals must intend to cause an injury or disfigurement to be charged with assault with caustic chemicals. Note that PC 244 charges also apply if someone indirectly causes these dangerous substances to be thrown or placed on another person.
Other Forms of Assault in California
Assault with caustic chemicals is only one form of felony assault in California. Individuals may also face harsh penalties if they violate:
- California Penal Code Section 217.1(a): Assault On A Public Official
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1): Assault With A Deadly Weapon
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(2): Assault With A Firearm
All assault charges involve attempting to inflict harm on another person intentionally. Acts of assault are not considered accidents. Individuals must purposefully attempt to cause another person harm for felony assault charges – including assault with caustic chemicals – to apply.
Assault with Caustic Chemicals: Examples
Focus on PC 244 charges with the following examples:
Man A waits at a gas station for Man B to arrive. When Man B shows up, Man A takes the pump beside him, removes the nozzle, and begins to splash gasoline all over him. Man A intends to light a match, but is stopped before he can. He could still be charged with assault with caustic chemicals, as gasoline is considered a flammable substance.
Woman A is cleaning the floors at her work. A man approaches her and tries to attack her. Afraid for her life, she kicks the mop bucket at him, upending it over his legs. She runs away as the bleach burns his skin. She could avoid PC 244 charges because she was acting to defend herself.
Results of a PC 244 Conviction
Assault with caustic chemicals can lead to a number of severe legal penalties in California. The court system may hand down the following penalties for a PC 244 conviction:
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Prison Time: Up to Four Years
Sometimes, judges may choose to sentence an individual to felony probation after they are found guilty of assault with caustic chemicals. The courts generally regulate felony probation very harshly, requiring individuals to adhere to a number of guidelines to avoid probation violations.
Possible Defenses for Assault with Caustic Chemicals Charges
There are some defenses that can be used if you are accused of assault with caustic chemicals. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can assess the facts surrounding your case to determine if any of the following defenses are applicable in your situation:
You Didn’t Intend to Harm or Disfigure Anyone
Individuals should only be convicted under PC 244 if they intend to harm or disfigure another person with caustic chemicals. This means that if you exposed someone to caustic chemicals without intending to injure them – even if you acted willfully – you may be able to avoid a PC 244 conviction.
You Weren’t Acting Maliciously
PC 244 charges require an individual to behave in a willful and malicious way. If you accidentally exposed someone to caustic chemicals you should not face charges under PC 244.
You Used Caustic Chemicals in Self-Defense / Defense of Someone Else
Sometimes, people in California must defend themselves with whatever happens to be on hand. If you had reason to believe you were in immediate danger and you used caustic chemicals to protect yourself – or another person – you may not be found guilty of assault with caustic chemicals.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Today
Felony assault charges such as California Penal Code Section 244: Assault with Caustic Chemicals can be incredibly serious. Get professional help with PC 244 accusations by speaking with a criminal defense lawyer. You can reach the Simmrin Law Group today for a FREE consultation.
Fill out our online contact form, or call (310) 997-4688 to start building your defense now.