When an individual gets into an altercation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office may bring charges based on crimes of assault. These charges can range from a misdemeanor to a serious felony offense. Because all assault crimes, whether misdemeanor or felony, are crimes of violence, a conviction may result in serious legal consequences. When defending a prosecution for an assault crime, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience in handling assault crimes. The Goldstein Law Group has extensive experience in handling all types of assault crimes in Los Angeles County. Let’s review the different types of California assault crimes below.
California Penal Code Section 240 – Assault
Under California Penal Code Section 240, the crime of assault doesn’t require another person to sustain an actual injury. It only requires an act that is likely to result in the application of force. PC 240 is commonly known as “simple assault,” and is typically filed in cases where there are little to no injuries on the alleged victim. In order to obtain a conviction for assault, the Los Angeles County prosecution has to be able to prove you behaved in a certain manner that was likely to result in the use of violent force against another person. They must also be able to prove you acted willfully with intent to harm, and you had the ability to apply sufficient force to cause injury. In other words, just putting another person in fear of battery could be sufficient for a simple assault offense. Assault is a misdemeanor crime that carries a sentence of up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
California Penal Code Section 242 – Battery
Under California Penal Code Section 242, battery is described as willfully touching someone is a harmful or offensive manner. It should be noted the “touching” does not have to cause actual pain or injury. In fact, rude or touching someone in an angry manner is sufficient to be charged with battery, even in cases where there was only slight contact with the alleged victim. It’s a common myth that “assault” and “battery” are the same crime. Under California law, they are two separate criminal offenses. As stated above, “assault” is an attempt to cause injury on someone else, but “battery” is the unlawful use of force or violence on another person. The main difference is that an assault crime doesn’t require actual physical contact or injury, but a battery crime requires at least some type of contact, even slight. If you are convicted of misdemeanor battery, you could face up to 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail and a fine up to $2,000.
California Penal Code Section 243(d) – Aggravated Battery
Under California Penal Code Section 243(d), aggravated battery means you committed a battery offense as described above, but it caused some type of significant bodily injury on the victim. The injury needs to be significant, such as a broken nose or concussion. As you can see, the main difference between “battery” and “aggravated battery” is the level of injuries on the victim. PC 243(d) is a “wobbler,” meaning the Los Angeles County prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony crime, based on the circumstances and your criminal history. The legal penalties for a misdemeanor conviction include up to one year in county jail, a fine up to $1,000, and summary probation. A felony conviction for aggravated battery includes up to 4 years in a California state prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
California Penal Code Section 245 – Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Under California Penal Code Section 245, assault with a deadly weapon is described as someone committing assault on another person using a deadly weapon other than a firearm. A deadly weapon is described as any object that’s capable of causing great bodily injury or death. In order to be convicted, the prosecutor has to be able to prove you assaulted another person, and the assault was committed with a deadly weapon or force that was likely to cause great bodily injury. PC 245 is also a “wobbler,” and if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the legal penalties include up to one year in the county jail, and a fine up to $10,000. If you are convicted of a felony case of assault with a deadly weapon, the legal penalties include up to four years in a state prison, and a “strike,” under California’s Three Strikes Law.
California Penal Code Section 422 – Criminal Threats
Under California Penal Code Section 422, criminal threats are described as willfully making threats to commit a crime that could result in bodily injury or death to another person. The threats could be verbal, in writing, or by any type of electronic communication. It should be noted there does not have to be any specific intent to actually carry out the threat, only that the threat causes the alleged victim to be in fear of their own safety or their immediate family. Penal Code 422 charges are common in Los Angeles County domestic violence related cases. Criminal threats are also a “wobbler” offense. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to up to one year in the county jail, but a felony conviction could lead up to four years in a California state prison. If you threatened the alleged victim with a dangerous weapon, your sentence may increase by one year.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of an assault crime, you need to contact the experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at the Goldstein Law Group. A conviction could have life-altering consequences. Our lawyers know how to build an effective defense strategy to obtain the best possible outcome. In many cases, a self-defense argument could be a viable option. However, there are other potential legal defenses, such as a false accusation or mistaken identity. Every case of assault is unique and requires a thorough review of all the specific details. Let our law firm take a close look at the circumstances of your case and discuss your options. Contact us at 323-461-2000.
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