Although not all assault charges in California end up being felon conviction, aggravated assault faces a higher probability of more serious sentencing compared to simple assault. This is why many individuals facing aggravated assault charges in San Diego, California, are wondering whether there is a chance for these charges to be dropped.
Whether you are dealing with a simple misdemeanor assault or facing the more severe aggravated assault charges, it is important to look into pertinent California laws that govern these crimes.
You may also benefit from the help of a criminal defense attorney who will examine the technicalities and circumstances of your case, with the goal of reducing the charges or having them dropped altogether in San Diego, California.
Which Laws Govern Aggravated Assault Charges in San Diego, California?
According to the California Penal Code, an assault is an attempt to physically and violently injure another person. It is significantly different from a battery in the sense that an assault doesn’t have to result in an actual battery. The mere attempt to commit battery, as well as the present ability to perform the act, may already be considered as an assault. In a case of simple assault in San Diego, California, the offender may be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to six months in jail, with maximum fines of $1,000.
However, there exists a more serious form of assault, wherein specific circumstances may be present to classify the crime as a felony, and not just misdemeanor. This is what is known as aggravated assault. The specific aggravating circumstances involved in an aggravated assault may be using a weapon, attempting robbery, committing rape, or involving a public official in the assault.
How Serious Are Aggravated Assault Charges in San Diego, California?
If you are facing aggravated assault charges in San Diego, California, there is a possibility that you will face more serious sentencing, compared to when you are simply charged with simple assault.
However, aggravated assault is considered as a ‘wobbler’ in the state of California. This means that the prosecuting party may view the offense as either a simple misdemeanor or an outright felony. If the aggravated assault charges end up as a misdemeanor conviction, the prison sentencing is reduced from two to four years in a state prison facility to only a year of imprisonment in county jail.
Due to the various defenses available to a charge of aggravated assault, there will always be a possibility that these charges will be dropped. However, it is clear that aggravated assault charges face harsher penalties than just simple assault in San Diego, California.
When dealing charges of aggravated assault, the choice of a committed criminal defense attorney becomes crucial.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help in Aggravated Assault Charges?
The seriousness of an aggravated assault charge may pose the risk of longer prison sentences and more expensive fines. However, a dedicated criminal defense attorney can help, especially in terms of arguing for possible defenses based on your charges.
By reviewing the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense attorney may arrive at certain technicalities and facts that will be instrumental in reducing or dismissing the charges against you.
If you have been charged with aggravated assault in San Diego, California, the following defenses may be put forward by your criminal defense attorney:
- Absence of intent in committing the assault. In some circumstances, your quick reactions may have been interpreted by another individual as intent to strike or hurt another. If your lawyer can prove in court that you have no intention to physically injure another person, your charges may have a strong chance at dismissal.
- Self-defense or the defense of other people. Your legal counsel may also argue that your action was done simply as a form of self-defense or as a way to defend another individual, such as your child or a minor.
- Lack of ability to commit the assault. If the prosecution has accused you of using a deadly weapon or a loaded firearm in the assault, then it is important that they also prove your ability to use the weapon. Otherwise, there will be no strong basis for your charges.
Get the Help of San Diego Criminal Law Firm for Your Aggravated Assault Charges
Due to California laws on aggravated assault, as well as possible and applicable defenses, a criminal defense attorney can help in having your assault charges dismissed in San Diego, California.
Contact a criminal defense attorney at the San Diego Criminal law firm to find out more about your legal options when facing these kinds of assault charges in the state of California.