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Crime of Assault Explained
The State of California takes assault charges very seriously, and strict penalties reflect this standpoint. However, “assault”, as a legal term, is so broad in its definition, that it can often sew confusion in everyone but the most qualified assault lawyer in San Diego, CA.
In fact, some actions that can be considered more of an insult can, in fact, be classified as an assault under California law. For these reasons, it is important to familiarize yourself with the definition of this crime, especially if you or someone you know is facing charges.
What is considered assault in California?
The crime of Assault is defined in California Penal Code 240 (Part 1, Title 8, Chapter 9, Section 240) as, quote: “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.
In other words, an action can be considered an “assault” if a person (perpetrator) threatens violence or tries to harm another person (victim), thereby inducing real fear in them. This is where the confusion usually starts.
As it stands, assault does NOT, actually, entail physical contact but, rather, the intention to do harm or cause fear. However, if threats are carried out (i.e. perpetrator commits a physical attack and inflicts harm upon a victim), the crime immediately goes over into the domain of “battery”, which is a much more severe offense.
What’s the lowest form of assault?
The lowest (and the most common) form of assault in California is the so-called “simple assault”. This type of offense is considered an attempted battery and typically involves acts where the threat of harm is present, but no actual physical contact takes place.
In other words, if someone tries to harm another person but doesn’t succeed, they will be charged with simple assault. This offense is often considered a misdemeanor and carries penalties that include fines of up to $1000 or a period of incarceration (or probation) of up to 6 months.
What is 2nd-degree assault in California?
First, it must be noted that the term “2nd-degree assault” actually comes from the legal systems of several other US states. Although commonly used in California, the official equivalent of this crime here is “Aggravated Assault”.
- Aggravated assault involves situations where an individual acts with the intention to inflict serious bodily harm to another person.
The act may or may not involve the use of a deadly weapon or instrument, but it’s commonly characterized by blatant disregard for the victim’s life. Therefore, any attempt to murder, kill, rob, or rape someone that results in a victim suffering severe injuries can be constituted aggravated assault.
Lastly, it must be noted that aggravated assault is a more severe category of crime. In California, it is generally treated and tried as a felony, carrying more substantial penalties that often include lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.
Where can I find a seasoned assault lawyer near me in San Diego, CA?
Grappling with assault charges can be an overwhelming, uphill battle. Fortunately, you don’t have to fight it alone. At Monder Criminal Lawyer Group we specialize in navigating the complex battlefield of California’s assault law. Our highly experienced attorneys have a proven track record of successfully handling assault cases throughout the San Diego area and beyond.
You can count on us to relentlessly advocate on your behalf, in and out of the courtroom, to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out to us today or, if you’re passing by San Diego Convention Center, visit our headquarters for a free consultation.