Assault and Battery Lawyer for San Diego, CA
For most civilians, the crimes of ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ are often used interchangeably. In reality, these are two separate crimes, with two separate charges and penalties. And that’s just the beginning of the nuances that surround the legalities of assault and battery charges in San Diego, California. For such a serious charge, there is a lot that people don’t know when it comes to assault and battery, which makes it all the more important that you equip yourself with knowledge and an assault and battery lawyer if you are facing these charges. An experienced assault and battery lawyers can outline the following:
The definition of assault
The definition of battery
Common charges of assault and battery
Common defenses for assault and battery charges
How an Assault and Battery Lawyer Can Help
The consequences of assault and battery can vary dramatically depending on the circumstances of your specific incident, and an assault and battery lawyer is the best way to help make sense of things. Your assault and battery attorney will be able to help you navigate the intricacies of these charges and help you understand what is going on. Most importantly, an assault and battery lawyer in San Diego, CA will be able to help you negotiate the best possible outcomes as you deal with these charges.
What is Considered Assault in California?
The California Penal Code 240 defines assault as an unlawful attempt to cause a violent injury to another person. Notice that assault does not require violence or injury: only the threat of injury. Assault is often described as the attempt to commit battery, which is the actual execution of the injury threatened. When laying an assault charge, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to commit the battery that they were threatening. This must also mean that a defendant had the ‘present ability’ to commit the injury, but does not need to prove that physical contact occurred.
A simple assault is categorized as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, probation and restitution to the victim(s).
What is Considered Battery in California?
Battery is defined in section 242 of the California Penal Code and described as the use of force or violence against another. To prove that battery took place, a prosecutor must prove that violent physical contact was made against another person. A battery in California can be counted as a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on many external factors that will be discussed later. In general, a battery charge will result in a $2,000 fine as well as jail time of up to 6 months if the charges are a misdemeanor. If the battery charge is upgraded to a felony, you will instead face fines upwards of $10,000 and a maximum jail sentence of three or four years.
Battery charges could be upgraded if the actions were carried out against specified protected persons. For example, battery of police officers, emergency workers, and traffic personnel will elevate the charges, as well as battery against pregnant women. Battery charges will also be more severe if a deadly weapon was involved in the incident, as well as the use of sexual force.
Common Charges of Assault and Battery
Assault and battery cannot be limited to just one charge or one action. Rather, there are many different types of charges that can be attributed to assault, with varying degrees of potential penalties. Your assault and battery lawyer will be able to help you identify the situation that most likely applies to your incident and potentially argue for a lesser charge.
Simple Assault: This charge is the most basic form of an assault charge in America. Under California penal code 240, simple assault is a misdemeanor charge and can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in county jail. Simple assault is charged when a weapon was not involved in the incident and injuries were relatively minor.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm: Charges of assault causing bodily harm are laid when notable injuries occur to the victim. This can be considered a charge that combines with assault and battery, as you will have acted upon the threat of violence if you are charged with this crime.
Assault with a Weapon: According to section 245 (a)(1) of the California Penal Code, any person who commits an assault on another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm can be punished by imprisonment up to four years and face fines up to $10,000. For assault with a deadly weapon, you may face both the fine and imprisonment depending on the severity of the incident.
Assaulting a Public Service Office: The penalties for assault in California are more severe if the victim belongs to certain professional categories, such as a police officer, firefighter, or other protected profession. Increased penalties can be incurred if the assault victim falls into any of these categories. If that is the case, maximum county jail sentence increases to one year and the potential fines rise from $1,000 to $2,000.
Aggravated Assault: According to California Penal Code Section 245, aggravated assault is one of the most serious forms of assault that you can commit. A charge is generally increased from simple assault to aggravated assault if the use of a deadly weapon was used in the incident and if serious injuries were acquired by the victim. Aggravated assault in California can be categorized as either a misdemeanor charge or a felony, again depending on the situation.
Sexual Assault: If non-consensual sex is also involved with a threat or act of violence, it becomes a sexual assault. California Penal Code deals with sexual assault and battery and carries fines from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on whether the crime is categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony, as well as jail times for six months to three or four years.
Aggravated Sexual Assault: As is the case with aggravated assault, a sexual assault charge can be increased when there were especially serious injuries to the victim or the use of a weapon.
Ultimately, all assault and battery charges have different levels of severity, from simple to aggravated. Most assault charges can be argued in court by your assault and battery lawyer as either the less severe conviction or the more serious indictable offense. The outcome will depend on the situation and the qualifications of your assault and battery lawyer.
Once you are convicted, you will have an entry on your criminal record for the remainder of your life. If you are being faced with an assault charge, speaking to a California assault and battery lawyer can help to make sense of the charges that you are facing.
Defenses of Assault and Battery Charges
The defenses in an assault and battery case can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case, as well as the state within which it was committed. The defenses for assault and battery charges will be assembled by your assault and battery lawyer and will determine the likelihood of a more lenient sentence. Having a San Diego, California assault and battery lawyer on your side may help you identify key defenses for your case.
Self defense is one of the most common legal defenses used to protest an assault and battery charge in court. In order to prove that an assault was carried out under self defense, you and your San Diego assault and battery lawyer will have to prove the following:
There was a threat of unlawful force made against you
There existed a real and honest perceived fear of harm being done to yourself or a loved one (there must be reasonable proof that this was the case)
There was no harm of provocation on your side
There was no reasonable chance that you could retreat or escape the situation without using force
In addition to these factors outlined above, the doctrine of self defense does have a number of limitations. For example, just because someone acts in self defense does not mean that any amount of retaliatory force was justified. The force used in self defense must be reasonable when compared to the threat that was forced on the defendant. Additionally, even if all the elements outlined above are met, an individual who defends themselves may still be found guilty of assault and battery if the victim was physically not a match for them. For example, if a strong adult tries to claim self defense against an elderly person, the defense will likely not stand.
Defense of Property
If you’re facing an assault and battery case, your assault and battery attorney may be able to claim that you acted to protect your property from being invaded or illegally withheld. It is critical to understand that the availability and extent of this defense vary from state to state. When this defense is available, however, it generally allows an individual to use reasonable force to defend their property, especially in their home.
The law is somewhat more divided on the issue of personal property. People are not necessarily entitled to defend a purse or a car with excessive force. However, if the property has been stolen directly from the person’s hands (for example, if a person is robbed of a wallet point-blank), they may be able to argue that they were exercising the right to defend themselves. In matters such as these, your assault and battery lawyer will be able to make decisions on whether this defense is appropriate for the situation.
Depending on the jurisdiction, consent may be available as a defense in an assault and battery charge. If an individual has consented voluntarily to a particular act, then that same act generally cannot be claimed to constitute an assault and battery. However, if the extent of the act exceeds the permission provided, it may still provide the grounds for an assault and battery charge, regardless of the efforts taken by your assault and battery attorney.
Additionally, it should be noted that matters of consent are scrutinized very carefully in a court of law, and tend to rule that harmful actions, even when consented to, are in violation of public policy. When this happens, the assault and battery charge will still stand. Speak with your assault and battery lawyer to see if this defense may apply in your situation.
Consent is most commonly used as a defense against sexual assault, although you will want to consult with your assault and battery attorney before pursuing this course of action.
How an Assault and Battery Lawyer in San Diego, California Can Help
Some people are tempted to avoid a long court process and plead guilty immediately. However, this is not an advisable course of action before speaking with an assault and battery lawyer in San Diego, California. The intricacies of these laws are such that an assault and battery attorney will be able to examine your case and identify key elements that may help you. However, if you plead guilty, you may never know how your case should have turned out.
An assault and battery attorney may be able to review your case and find that there is not sufficient evidence for a conviction. Alternatively, an assault and battery attorney may be able to exclude certain pieces of evidence that a prosecutor would rely on in court for technical reasons. These are all mechanisms of the law that the average person will not be aware of, but they could be the difference between a minor or maximum charge being laid against you. An assault and battery lawyer that works with your best interests will be able to spot these issues and make sure that that you are not convicted unless there is enough proper evidence. With a law as complicated and nuanced as this one, contacting an assault and battery attorney is a highly advisable course of action.
Reach Out to a San Diego Assault & Battery Attorney Today
If you are facing an assault and battery charge of any kind, you will need a good California assault and battery attorney on your side to help make sense of the charges that you face and the most reasonable outcome that you can expect if you go to court.
At the end of the day, you want an assault and battery attorney who can help you navigate through the entire process of the charges you face. The assault and battery lawyers from San Diego Criminal are ready to lend you years of experience and work with you to seek the best outcome possible. Contact us today for a consultation with an assault and battery lawyer.