What is Assault?

In California, assault is defined as an attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else. In order to be convicted of this crime all of the following need to be true:

  • The defendant did something that was likely to result in the use of force against someone else.
  • The defendant did so willfully.
  • The defendant was aware that this act would directly result in force being applied to the other person.
  • When the defendant acted, he or she had the ability to apply force to the other person.

Penalties for Assault

Assault is a misdemeanor by California law. Penalties for this crime typically consist of a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in a county jail.

Legal Defenses for Assault

You can be charged with this crime even if no one was hurt by your actions. An experienced defense attorney can help. Some of the defenses for assault include:

You did not actually have the ability to inflict force or violence on the other person.
If two men get into a fight and are pulled apart and one of them swings his arms at the other from across the room, then he did not have the ability to inflict force on the other person.

You acted in self-defense or in defense of someone else.
This legal defense applies if all of the following are true:

  • You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in immediate danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully.
  • You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger.
  • You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

You did not act willfully or with the required intent.
If your actions were accidental or they were misinterpreted by the supposed “victim”, then you are not guilty of assault. An experienced attorney is needed to make sure that the prosecutor and jury get the full story.

You were wrongfully accused.
Because no bodily harm is done during an assault, it is very easy to be falsely accused by someone who is angry, jealous or wants revenge.
It’s important to hire an experienced defense attorney in situations like these.

Any questions? Contact us.

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