Assault is a legal term used to describe one person’s attempt to inflict a violent injury on another person, and this term encompasses a great number of actions. Even a verbal altercation in a public place or in your own home could be misconstrued as assault, regardless of whether or not the “victim” of the alleged assault suffered any injuries. If you have been accused of assaulting another person in Los Angeles, your first course of action should be to secure qualified legal representation. Our assault defense attorneys at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles are intimately familiar with the intricacies of the California criminal justice system and have firsthand knowledge of the strategies prosecutors employ to develop cases against defendants suspected of criminal assault. An assault conviction in Los Angeles can cost you your job, your friends and your reputation, and having someone to advocate for you – someone whose sole objective is to protect your rights, your freedoms and your record – is critical to the outcome of your case. Contact our experienced legal team today at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles to discuss how best to defend yourself against these charges.
Affordable Assault Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Being charged with assault may seem like the end of the world, but our Los Angeles assault defense attorneys believe that every person has the right to a solid defense, regardless of the crimes they have been charged with. Our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles has the skill, commitment and experience to aggressively defend you against your assault charges in Los Angeles and will advocate on your behalf throughout the entire legal process. Our lawyers understand what evidence the state needs to obtain an assault conviction against you, and what combination of defense strategies can be best used to your advantage. We also recognize the fact that no two criminal cases are the same and pride ourselves on providing individualized representation for each and every one of our clients. Criminal assault may seem like a minor offense that you can easily get out of, but the criminal justice system is unpredictable, and a conviction could unnecessarily complicate the rest of your life. Contact our Los Angeles assault defense lawyers today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Under California Penal Code § 240 PC, the crime of assault, also known as simple assault, involves an attempt to use force or violence against another person. The slightest touch can be enough to result in an assault charge in Los Angeles, if the touching is done in an offensive or harmful way. It does not even have to cause actual physical injury or harm to be considered assault under California law; the act of attempting to use harmful force against another person is enough to result in an assault charge. Some examples of acts that could be charged as assault include the following:
- An intoxicated man in a bar approaches another person and begins to throw wild punches. None of the punches hit their target, but the man can still be charged with assault, as his actions constitute an attempt to use harmful force against another person.
- A man hits on a woman in a bar in a way that she finds offensive, and the woman retaliates by throwing the glass containing her drink at him. Even if the glass doesn’t strike the man, the act of throwing the glass may constitute assault.
If you commit an assault with a deadly weapon, with can include a knife, baseball bat, bottle, hammer, or any other tool, object or instrument capable of causing great bodily injury or death, or with force likely to produce great bodily injury, the charge could be elevated to assault with a deadly weapon (Penal Code § 245 PC). Some other related criminal offenses in Los Angeles include criminal threats (Penal Code § 422 PC), brandishing a weapon (Penal Code § 417 PC) and disturbing the peace (Penal Code § 415 PC).
Conviction for Assault Penal Code § 240 PC
It is important to understand that you can be charged with – and convicted of – assault in Los Angeles even if no one was injured as a result of your behavior. To be convicted of assault in Los Angeles under Penal Code § 240 PC, the prosecution must prove all of the following:
- That you committed an act that was likely to result in the use of force against another person;
- That you acted willfully and intentionally;
- That you were reasonably aware that your act would directly and probably result in force being used against another person; and
- That you had the present ability to use force on the other person.
Regarding the concept of having the “present ability to use force on the other person,” it must be taken into consideration whether or not the person threatening to use harmful force against another person is actually capable of carrying out such harmful force. If, for example, a paraplegic man confined to a wheelchair gets into an argument with his neighbor and threatens to kick him, the man could not be charged with assault because he lacks the present ability to commit the violent acts he threatened.
How is Assault Different from Battery?
Because we often hear the terms “assault” and “battery” used together, many people believe they constitute a single crime. In reality, assault and battery are two very distinct offenses under California law, though the acts often happen concurrently. If, for example, assault is the act of intentionally causing fear of harm by making a fist and threatening to hit someone, battery (California Penal Code § 242 PC) is the actual physical contact, or the hit itself. Generally speaking, an assault is the behavior that leads up to a battery. If you attempt to hit someone, you could be charged with assault, regardless of whether or not there is actual physical contact. If your attempt is successful, meaning you make physical contact with the other person, you could also be charged with battery. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the differences these two charges is to think of assault as an “attempted battery,” and battery as a “completed assault.”
Penalties for an Assault Conviction
California has some of the toughest violent crime laws in the country and an assault conviction in Los Angeles can result in jail time, fines, probation or parole, full restitution to the victim, counseling and a permanent mark on your criminal record. Under California law, simple assault is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in county jail, plus misdemeanor probation. In some cases, penalties for an assault conviction may include counseling, anger management classes or other community service requirements.
Defenses to Assault Charges
If you have been charged with assault in Los Angeles, you have the constitutional right to defend yourself in court, and there are a number of legal defenses that may be available to you, depending on the circumstances of your case. Our assault defense attorneys have the resources necessary to develop an effective defense strategy in your case and will analyze the circumstances surrounding the case from every angle possible, to determine the most sensible way to proceed. We will interview potential eyewitnesses to get an accurate account of the alleged assault, analyze police reports and other evidence pertaining to the case, and may even call on the expertise of a psychologist to help the court understand the plaintiff’s state of mind at the time the alleged assault occurred. Some possible defenses in Los Angeles assault cases include the following:
- You were falsely accused
- You acted in self-defense or in defense of another person
- Your identity was mistaken
- You did not act willfully or with the required intent
- You did not have the ability to use force or violence against the other person
Hiring a Skilled Assault Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Facing charges of assault in Los Angeles can be serious and an assault conviction on your criminal record can have a significant impact on your future, possibly preventing you from obtaining certain employment or finding a place to live. The prosecutor trying your case will do everything in his or her power to get a conviction, and it is within your rights to hire a knowledgeable attorney to defend you. If you are being investigated for assault, or if you have been arrested and charged with assault in Los Angeles, don’t wait to obtain legal representation to protect your legal rights. Our lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorneys Los Angeles have years of experience defending clients against simple assault and battery charges and will work tirelessly in an attempt to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. No one wants an assault conviction on their criminal record, and with an experienced Los Angeles assault defense attorney on your side, you can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome at trial. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys today for a free initial consultation. If you are looking for domestic violence representation click here.