Assault charges in California are treated very seriously by prosecuting authorities. They can have a dramatic impact on the life of someone who has been accused of this conduct and could lead to strict sentencing terms.
With that said, not every assault charge is the same. If you have been charged with assault, it’s important to understand exactly what type of charge you are facing so that you and your legal counsel can make informed choices when constructing your legal defense.
Simple assault means that no aggravating circumstances are playing a role in the criminal case in question. Physical contact is not required for someone to be charged with assault. Under the California Penal Code, an attempt to cause injury is an assault. Simply making a credible threat or putting forward an effort to harm someone else can be classified as a simple assault, even if that person was not injured by the conduct of the accused.
Likewise, it’s important to note that battery is different than assault. A battery charge indicates that physical contact did happen and violence was used. People often think of assault and battery as the same thing, but they are not. A person could certainly be charged with assault without actually committing battery, but the moment that an altercation turns physical, they can then face battery charges.
Aggravating factors need to be considered to determine whether an assault was more serious than a simple assault. An example of an aggravated assault occurs if someone uses a deadly weapon or is trying to commit a related felony at the time of the offense. An aggravated assault is much more serious than a simple assault.
What are the potential ramifications?
For a simple assault, a conviction could result in a sentence consisting of up to six months in jail, probation, and a fine of $1,000. For battery, the jail term is the same, but the fine could be a maximum of $2,000. If a felony has been committed, then the person could face as long as three years in prison, and the fine could be anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.
No matter what you’ve been charged with, it’s important to understand the intricacies of the law and the potential ramifications you face. Be sure you know exactly what legal defense options you have by speaking with a legal professional as soon as you can after being charged with wrongdoing so that you can make informed choices about your legal options.