According to data compiled by DisasterCenter.com, California witnessed 105,541 cases of aggravated assault in 2019. The number of simple assault charges is not available.
Under California law, simple assault becomes aggravated assault when there is a clear intent to inflict serious bodily harm, or when it is committed with a firearm or another deadly weapon.
If you or a loved one is under investigation for or has been charged with assault (simple or aggravated), and you’re in the Los Angeles area or in the nearby counties of Ventura, Orange, or San Diego, contact me at the Alec Rose Law Office. I have been helping clients defend themselves against accusations of assault and other charges for 25 years. I will defend your rights and work with you to optimize your chances of a successful outcome.
California Penal Code 240 PC states: “An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
To be convicted of assault under California law, four elements must be proven:
You did something that could lead to the application of force on another human being
You did so willfully
You were aware that your actions could lead to the need to apply force
You had the “present ability” to apply that force to the other person
Even touching someone in a rude or offensive manner can be charged as assault in California. Spitting or throwing something at someone can also be viewed as assault.
Aggravated assault, which carries stiffer penalties and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, occurs when there is evident intent to inflict major damage without respect for the other person’s life, or when a firearm or another deadly weapon is involved.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. The penalties increase to a $2,000 fine and one year in jail if the assault involves law enforcement officers or emergency personnel, such as police, paramedics, firefighters, and even animal control officers.
Aggravated assault, being a “wobbler” offense, if charged as a misdemeanor can lead to:
Jail time of up to one year
A maximum of $10,000 in fines
Restitution paid to the victim
Confiscation of any weapon involved, if owned by the perpetrator
Community service and/or anger management course attendance
If charged as a felony, a longer sentence in state prison may result. Also, a felony counts as a strike under California’s “Three Strikes Law,” so if you have two prior felony convictions, you could face 25 years to life in prison. A felony can also strip you of your voting rights and your Second Amendment gun ownership rights.
In a criminal trial, the prosecutors must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed the crime as charged, and the jury must concur without a single dissenting voice. Therefore, your defense can rest on one or more of these arguments:
You lacked the ability to inflict violence on another person — You had no weapon or your physical condition prevented the application of force.
You lacked the intent — What happened was an accident and not willful.
Self-defense or defense of others — You stepped in to prevent a dangerous situation from occurring that could result in harm to you or others.
False accusation — An eyewitness pinpointed you by mistake, or someone could have deliberately implicated you out of feelings of revenge or spite.
Since 1993, I have represented more than 2,000 clients involving dozens of courtroom trials and thousands of preliminary hearings, suppression motions, and administrative proceedings. If you have been charged with assault in the Greater Los Angeles area, or the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, or Orange, call me at the Alec Rose Law Office and schedule a free consultation.