Assault is the intentional creation of reasonable harm done to cause someone to believe they will be the victim of immediate battery.

How Does California Define Assault?

The state defines assault as the unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury to someone. This means the defendant must act in a manner that could cause a battery to occur. A battery is the unlawful use of force to another person which causes an offensive, or unwanted, touching or injury. 

What Does the Application of Force Mean in an Assault Charge?

Assault doesn’t include actually touching the victim. It does include the attempt to touch in an offensive manner. The type of force required for assault is defined as the slightest indirect or direct touch done in an offensive or harmful way. 

Is There a Simple Assault Charge in California?

Yes. Simple assault is a charge reserved for someone who committed the crime. However, the defendant didn’t significantly injury a victim or use a weapon. Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge. It’s punishable by six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. The sentence can be increased to one year in jail if the assault was on a public official. 

What is Aggravated Assault? 

Aggravated assault is occurs when deadly force or a deadly weapon is used during an assault. A deadly weapon can range from a firearm to the attacker’s fists. No actual harm must happen for someone to be charged with aggravated assault. 

What is the Punishment for an Aggravated Assault Conviction? 

Aggravated assault is a “wobbler.” So a defendant can be charged with either misdemeanor or felony aggravated assault. A misdemeanor aggravated assault conviction is punishable by a year in jail and fine. A conviction of felony aggravated assault two to four years in state prison. A felony prison can increase to 12 years if a deadly weapon was used. 

Can a Lawyer Help with My Assault Case? 

Yes. Talk to a California criminal lawyer to better understand your rights and defenses to your assault charge.