Assault and battery charges can be harmful to your record. Assault is a threat of dangerous contact or an act leading up to such an act, while battery is classified as the physical act that causes harm. If charged with assault or battery, you can face up to 25 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.
Dod Law, APC, in Vista and Downtown San Diego, California, has the courtroom experience and negotiating skills to help you if you face assault and battery charges. For 16 years, Attorney Dod Ghassemkhani has worked with clients in the San Diego area in more than 6,500 criminal cases. As a top-notch San Diego criminal defense attorney, he has consistently fought to get his clients acquitted.
What Constitutes Assault & Battery under California Law?
While many use the terms assault and battery interchangeably, these criminal charges are distinct and carry two different penalties. No matter which type of crime you are charged with, you should retain a San Diego assault attorney without delay in defending your good name and protecting your legal rights.
Assault is defined under California Penal Code 240 as an “unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” Assault in California basically comprises the measures a person takes, which leads to a battery. For example, the act of aiming a gun at somebody you are contending with to make them believe you are about to harm them would be considered assault in California.
In contrast, battery is defined under California Penal Code 242 as any willful and illegal use of force or violence upon another person. While an individual may assault without perpetrating battery, a battery cannot happen without first beginning with assault. That is because an assault constitutes a threat to physically harm, coupled with a present capacity to inflict said harm. A battery is the actual inflicting of an injury to another.
In other words, an assault is an endeavored battery, and battery is an accomplished assault. The key difference is that bodily contact is required to be found guilty of battery.
Scenarios That Lead to Assault and Battery Charges in San Diego
An assault charge happens in a number of ways. Overall, assault incidents include:
- Intent to do someone harm
- Threatening actions or behaviors
- Actions that indicate an intent to attack
For example, approaching someone with raised fists or attempting a physical attack can be considered assault. Battery, on the other hand, involves physical contact and can include:
- Using force against another person
- Aggressive, angry actions resulting in violence
- Striking someone with an object
That may include deliberately beating with an object or with fists, shoving, or tripping another individual. Any of these scenarios for assault or battery require an effective and aggressive criminal defense lawyer.
What Are the Elements to Convict Assault in San Diego?
Confronting criminal accusations of assault in San Diego is scary, and it’s an encounter that no one would ever voluntarily go through. The San Diego assault attorney at Dod Law, APC, has 16 years of experience representing clients charged with assault across California. He understands you likely have many questions and need trustworthy advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you are accused of assault, battery, or both offenses, consult a seasoned criminal defense attorney today.
To be found guilty of criminal assault under California law, the prosecution will have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the following four elements against you:
- You acted in a way that would likely result directly in the application of force to somebody else;
- You acted intentionally;
- When you acted, you were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that your act would directly and probably result in the application of force to that person; and
- When you acted, you had the ability to apply unlawful force.
The term “application of force” refers to any damaging or offensive touching. Even the feeblest touching will be considered if it’s done in an offensive or rude way. In San Diego and across California, assault might happen even if the touching involved could not inflict any real kind of injury.
Felony Assault and Battery Charges in San Diego, CA
- Striking someone with an object
- Shooting or threatening to kill someone while pointing a gun at them
- Actions resulting in serious physical injuries to a victim
If charged with assault and battery in San Diego, you should do all you can to find a qualified and dependable criminal defense lawyer in San Diego to help with your case. You can only be acquitted of an assault and battery charge if you can demonstrate that you acted in self-defense, had consent for physical contact, protected others or property, or used reasonable force in a particular line of duty. Otherwise, prosecution for assault and battery is strict in California.
What Are Potential Penalties for Assault in San Diego?
Broadly speaking, if you are convicted of misdemeanor assault in San Diego, you may face penalties that include:
- Up to six months in jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Mandatory completion of a batterer’s course or community service
If you are charged with assaulting someone with a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm, you may face increased fines and jail time. Additionally, if the victim belongs to a certain profession—for example, a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or paramedic—you will face heightened penalties.
It’s important to note that a conviction for a felony or aggravated assault in California falls under the Three Strikes law. If this is your third strike conviction, you may face 25 years or more in prison.
What Are Legal Defense Strategies against a California Assault Charge?
There are several defenses available if you’re accused of assault in San Diego. A frequently used defense strategy is either the defense of others or self-defense. If you can demonstrate that your actions were required because the supposed victim was going to attack you or someone else close to you, this might result in a dismissal of the assault allegations.
Another defense strategy to assault is that you did not aim to assault the alleged victim willfully. That can happen in a scenario where you might move your arm toward a person without recognizing you may hit them or that the person is there.
Other viable legal defenses you may use to fight assault charges include that you didn’t actually have the ability to inflict force or violence on the person or that you were falsely accused. It is essential that you retain legal representation from a skilled San Diego assault attorney if you are confronting assault charges so that you may begin to devise your legal defense to the allegations.
Contact Experienced San Diego Assault and Battery Defense Attorneys for a Free Consultation
At Dod Law, APC, in Vista and Downtown San Diego, California, Attorney Dod will use his experience and legacy of results to fight for you. One of Attorney Dod’s previous cases involved a client in San Diego charged with assault after he stabbed another person in self-defense. Through Attorney Dod’s hard work, he showed the jury that his client acted in self-defense. He gained a “not guilty” verdict, allowing his client to defeat the assault charges and continue pursuing his nursing career with no time in custody.
It takes an experienced and skilled assault attorney to accomplish this. For a free consultation, contact a lawyer in San Diego at 619-332-1357 or in Vista at 760-814-6025.