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Defenses Against Aggravated Assault in California

Defenses Against Aggravated Assault in California

Assault charges are a serious matter — one that most people will want professional help to defend against. But though aggravated assault can be extremely serious, there still are some defenses that can be used successfully.

What is Assault?

When most people say “assault,” they are talking about a dramatic, physical attack. But legally, “assault” occurs when a perpetrator causes a victim to think that they may be subjected to either harmful or offensive contact. Nothing physical need occur for something to be “assault.” This can also confuse people when they are accused of “assault” because they may think they have done nothing wrong since they did not touch someone.

Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault

What is aggravated assault? Aggravated assault is more similar to the colloquial or casual definition of assault. Aggravated assault includes serious physical damage to the individual. It is a first-degree felony and requires that the perpetrator acted either intentionally or negligently.

Some may wonder what the difference is between aggravated assault and battery. Aggravated assault and battery are essentially the same things; this is why people may see references to “assault (simple assault) and battery (aggravated assault).”

You should always know exactly what charges have been levied against you if you’re being accused of any form of assault. This is critical to understand what your charges are and whether you can defend against them.

In addition to the above, it’s important to note that simple assault is usually a misdemeanor. But with aggravated assault, it will qualify as a felony assault in California.

California Penal Code for Assault

Penal Code 240 PC outlines the offense of assault, which relates to up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.00. But this is the penal code for simple assault, not aggravated assault. Again, simple assault relates to a threat to hurt someone, provided that the threat is a believable one and that the victim has reason to believe it. So, a joking threat or an outlandish threat may not be considered assault, because the other party would have no reason to believe that it is legitimate.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault

The aggravated assault California penal code is Section 245. For this, the penalties are very different: up to one year in jail, probation, up to $10,000 in fines, and restitution to the victim. Aggravated assault occurs when a threat occurs to the victim and is carried out and some element of bodily harm occurs.

Defenses for Aggravated Assault

Though it is a very serious charge, there are some defenses against aggravated assault:

  • Self-defense or the defense of others This is legal. If it can be proven that the person committed the actions to protect themselves or others, then it would not be considered aggravated assault.
  • False accusations – If someone is innocent and being falsely accused (whether intentionally or through mistaken identity), they should not be convicted of the crime of aggravated assault.
  • Lack of intent – For aggravated assault charges to apply, the person must have the intent to hurt and be negligent. Someone accidentally hurting someone while not acting negligently would not be considered aggravated assault.
  • No assault occurred – If it can be proven that no actual assault occurred, no one can be found guilty of the crime. This is probably one of the best defenses for aggravated assault.

Understandably, this type of aggravated assault defense often requires some form of evidence to prove. But the other side also needs to prove that the assault occurred and who committed it.

When Should You Contact a Lawyer?

Any time you’re facing an assault or aggravated assault charge, you should connect with a lawyer. The penalties for aggravated assault are extremely high. With a lawyer, you may be able to successfully render an appropriate aggravated assault defense.

Contact the San Diego legal experts at Premier Criminal Defense for aggressive defense against any assault charge. Just fill out our easy online form or give us a call at (619) 439-0252 for a FREE case review. We know what it takes to protect your rights. Let us fight for you!

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