Orange County Assault Lawyer
Robert Miller and Associates are Orange County Criminal Lawyerswho have experience in handling assault cases in Southern California. If you or someone you know has been charged in Southern California with simple assault, aggrevated assault or battery, we can help.
Under the law, California Penal Code Section 240, assault is committed when there is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.
The Difference Between Assault and Battery
People often confuse assault and battery, or believe that both crimes are one in the same. One distinguishing factor is that an assault does not necessarily involve any actual physical contact and a battery does. In other words, an assault is an attempted battery and a battery is an accomplished assault.
Two Types of Assault
There are two types of assault under California law:
- A simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, is often charged when the person did not suffer a significant injury as a result of the offense; and
- An aggravated assault, also known as an “assault with a deadly weapon,” will be charged if
- The person used a deadly weapon or other instrument capable of producing serious bodily injury; and/or
- When the offense causes a serious injury.
What a Prosecutor Needs to Prove for a Simple Assault
A prosecutor must prove three things to charge someone with a simple assault under Penal Code Section 240:
- The offender willfully acted in a way that would likely result in physical contact with another person;
- The offender was aware that the act would likely result in physical contact; and
- The offendor had the ability to carry out with the act that caused the contact.
Punishments for Assault
A simple assault is a misdemeanor and may result in the following penalties and punishments:
- Informal probation up to three years
- Up to six months in the county jail
- Up to a $1000 fine
Key Issues for Assault
- Willful- intentional. Willful does not necessarily mean one either intended to injure the other person or intended to violate a law.
- For example, Richard, intending to scare Robin, threw a basketball in her direction. Although Richard did not intend to hit Robin, he acted “willfully” when he threw the basketball.
- Physical Contact- any touch, no matter how slight, which is done in a harmful or even an offensive manner. The touching can be indirectly through another person or object, through one’s clothing and does not have to result in any pain or injury.
- For instance, in our example above where Richard threw a basketball at Robin, Richard could be charged with assault even though the basketball did not make physical contact because Richard’s act of throwing the basketball at Robin would have likely resulted in physical contact.
Defenses to Assault Charges
- Inability to carry out the assault- requirement of the present ability to commit a violent injury upon another.
- Self Defense/Defense of Others- one has a right to reasonably defend himself or another if he had a reasonable and honest belief that serious injury was about to occur by the hand of another.
- Lack of intent- one must willfully intend on committing a violent injury upon another.
- False charges- because there is no requirement that the accuser suffers an actual injury, assault is often falsely reported.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for assault, get professional representation from our Orange County Criminal Attorneys immediately by contacting our firm at (877) 568-2977, toll free.--