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California Assault Defenses



Assault can range from a minor crime to a very serious crime. It all just depends on the circumstances of the incident. For example, under California assault laws, if you attempt to cause someone harm, you may be charged with simple assault. If a deadly weapon is involved in the incident, then you will be charged with a much more serious crime.

If you are charged with assault, you should attempt to educate yourself about California assault laws. In addition, you will want to consult with a California criminal attorney. California criminal attorneys can represent you in court and help customize a defense that is best-suited for your case.

California Assault: Simple Assault

The most basic type of assault in California is called simple assault. This is when you attempt to injure someone else violently. For simple assault to occur, you do not actually have to cause injury. Throwing a punch and missing can count as simple assault under California assault laws.

Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime against the state, which usually entails a sentence of less than a year in jail or a small fine or both.

If you commit simple assault in California, a judge may sentence you for up to six months in jail and fine you up to $1,000.

California Assault: Assault with a Deadly Weapon

If you are in possession of a deadly weapon, such as a knife, while committing assault, you may be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. This type of assault occurs when you threaten to cause someone bodily harm through the use of a weapon other than a firearm.

Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony in California. A felony is more serious than a misdemeanor. If convicted of this crime, you may face up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Similar to assault with a deadly weapon is assault with a firearm. This occurs when the person who is doing the assaulting has a firearm in his or her possession at the time of the crime.

The firearm does not even need to be fired in order for you to be charged with assault with a firearm. Rather, the mere possession of the firearm at the time of the assault is enough to warrant this charge.

Assault with a firearm is also a felony and may entail up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Assault Defenses: Self Defense

One defense you and your attorney may want to consider is called self-defense. Self-defense means you exercised a reasonable amount of force to prevent an attacker from injuring you or someone else.

To prove this type of defense, you will need to show that the person you allegedly assaulted was endangering your well-being and that this is what caused you to react. You will also need to show that the amount of force you used to quell the situation was reasonable.

Assault Defenses: Consent

Another California assault defense is known as consent. Consent means that the person you allegedly assaulted agreed to the offending conduct.

For the consent defense to work, the injuries caused because of the assault must not be serious. You will also need to somehow prove that the other individual did actually consent to the activity in question and that the injury was reasonably foreseeable, specifically if it occurred during a sporting match.

Assault Defenses: Dispute the Charges

You and your attorney may also want to dispute the charges against you altogether. Perhaps you were wrongly identified as the perpetrator of the alleged assault. If so, you could provide evidence that you were not at the scene of the crime.

Assault Defenses: Plea Agreements

Although a plea agreement is not a defense per se, it can help you receive a reduced sentence. A plea agreement is when you agree to lesser charges so that you and the prosecution, the party in charge of proving your guilt, can avoid trial

For example, you may be able to have your sentence for simple assault reduced from six months in jail to 30 days in jail and an anger-management class.