Battery and assault are among the most common types of violent crimes with which prosecutors charge defendants in California. The penalties for a battery or assault conviction are typically severe and can result in prison time, heavy fines, and probation. If you’ve been charged with a violent crime, including assault or battery, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
San Bernardino and Riverside Assault and Battery Attorney
At the Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman, we recognize the seriousness of assault and battery charges. Our criminal defense lawyers give each client’s case the individual attention it deserves. We carefully review our clients’ assault and battery cases, conduct an investigation, and develop the best possible legal strategy. If you or your loved one have been charged with assault or battery, we can help. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Assault Charges in California
Sometimes our clients are surprised that they’ve been charged with assault because they never made physical contact with the alleged victim. When most people think about an assault, they think about physical violence. However, under California law, the crime of assault doesn’t require any physical harm to be perpetrated against the victim. A defendant can face assault charges without making any physical contact.
Instead, a defendant can be charged with assault for attempting to do physical harm to another person. Assault requires an act that would put a reasonable person in fear of immediate harm or unwanted bodily contact. A simple assault occurs when the defendant threatened to commit a physical injury against the victim without using a weapon. Aggravated assault occurs when the defendant intends to cause a person a severe physical injury.
Aggravated assault typically involves the use of a weapon or other instrument that could cause the victim to suffer bodily harm or even death. Even if the defendant didn’t injure the defendant, he or she could face aggravated assault charges. Misdemeanor aggravated assault carries a jail sentence of up to one year. A felony aggravated assault charge is punishable by up to four years in prison. The following conditions will elevate the assault charge to aggravated assault:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault with a firearm
- Assault with caustic chemicals
- Assault on a police or peace officer
Battery Charges in California
The crime of battery involves actual, harmful physical touching. The crime of assault occurs before the crime of battery. One can’t batter another person without assaulting them first. When a victim is never physically touched but is threatened, then an assault has occurred. However, once the suspect makes physical contact with the victim, a battery has happened. Prosecutors must prove the following three elements to successfully convict a defendant of battery:
- The act was willful
- Violence or force was used
- The act occurred upon another person
Suppose two people start arguing in a bar, and one person pulls back his fist as if to punch the other person, but misses. At that point, an assault has occurred because the individual didn’t make physical contact. However, had the punch landed on the other person’s face, the assailant would be charged with assault and battery.
Even if the victim doesn’t become injured by the offensive touching, or doesn’t experience any pain, the aggressor can be charged with battery. Assault and battery charges can stem from serious injuries, such as stabbings or gunshot wounds. Charges can also stem from less serious incidents, such as one person slapping another person. A battery charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony-level charge, depending on the seriousness and nature of the victim’s injuries.
Sexual assault isn’t limited to one specific type of crime. Under California laws, sexual assault includes threats, sodomy, rape, seduction, and more. Sexual assault involves any act of unwanted sexual contact without another person’s consent, including coercion or threats. Rape is a specific type of sexual assault that involves sexual intercourse because the victim was threatened or forced against his or her will. Rape also includes sexual intercourse when one person isn’t able to grant consent.
The definition of domestic violence is broad in California. Domestic assault and domestic violence involve threatening or engaging in offensive touching with your spouse, partner, or another person with whom you live. If you’ve been charged with domestic assault, you face penalties ranging from incarceration to anger management counseling.
Being convicted of domestic battery or assault can have serious consequences beyond prison time and fines. A conviction could play a harmful role in a child custody matter or result in the termination of your employment. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer will help you protect your freedom and your future.
Defenses to Assault And Battery Charges in California
Unfortunately, it’s also easy to falsely accuse another person of battery. A person with a grudge or a divorcing spouse may accuse an innocent spouse of battery. If you’ve been falsely charged with assault or battery, it’s essential that you reach out to a defense attorney as soon as possible. We will help you gather evidence that demonstrates your evidence and protect your rights.
Self-defense is another effective defense to assault and battery charges. We all have a right to use self-defense to protect ourselves from threats of unlawful force or harm against us. You will need to prove that you had a real, honest perceived threat to your safety and didn’t provoke the other person. You will also need to show that you didn’t have a reasonable chance to escape the situation or retreat.
Contact a San Bernardino Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery in California, you need an experienced lawyer to mount a strong defense on your behalf. At the Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman, we have an in-depth knowledge of California’s assault and battery laws and a proven track record of securing the best outcome possible for our clients. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.