Many think "assault and battery" is criminal offense, but actually they are two individual crimes. California law defines an assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit an injury on the person of another. Assault charges are extremely serious and are punished severely, even when no injury or contact has taken place. Contact between the alleged aggressor and the victim does not have to take place, only the threat of contact, and a mere attempt to commit a battery is enough to be found guilty of assault. In order for a prosecutor to prove the criminal offense of assault, they must prove the defendant intended to commit battery and had the "present ability" to do so.
An assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A felony assault is usually charged in cases involving deadly weapons, firearms, serious injury, or domestic violence. A misdemeanor assault will occur in other cases of simple battery. Some of the consequences of an assault can include:
- State prison or jail sentence
- Restraining orders and stay away orders
- Probation or parole
- Some offenses carry strike consequences
- Batterer’s treatment classes
- Anger management classes
- Harsher punishment if the assault involves domestic violence, firearms, or gang affiliation- Mere possession of a firearm in the act of an assault is enough to elevate the potential sentence to a prison sentence.
- Assault at a school, government building, or park will add an additional sentence or charges
- Assault on a police officer, EMT, a fire fighter, or a code enforcement officer, will add an additional sentence, enhancements, or charges
- Increases penalties if prior convictions, including strikes and domestic violence or existing restraining order convictions
- An assault victim may bring civil lawsuit against the defendant
- Fines, assessments, and courtroom security fees
- Restitution to the court and/or the victim
If you are facing criminal assault charges, contact the law office of Sara D. Bratsch immediately.