Most people treat "assault and battery" as one criminal offense, but actually they are two separate crimes. California law defines a criminal assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit an injury on the person of another.
In contrast, a criminal battery is the willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another person. When being charged with an assault, it is likely you will be charged with a battery as well if the person was hurt or injured in the course of the assault.
A criminal assault can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony crime. This is a crime that is considered a wobbler because it can be charged under either category of crime.
A felony assault will likely be found in cases involving firearms, deadly weapons, serious injury, or domestic violence. An assault with a deadly weapon is one of the most common charges when any weapon is involved, even if the object may not typically be considered a weapon.
A misdemeanor assault is mainly prosecuted in cases of simple battery. In some circumstances, it is possible to have your felony criminal assault charges reduced to misdemeanor charges.
To prove the criminal offense of assault, the prosecutor must prove you intended to commit a battery and had the "present ability" to do so. There is no requirement that you actually had contact between you and the other person, only the threat of contact.
When charged with assault, the alleged victim plays a large role in the crime. Depending on the alleged victim, the charges may be aggravated. There are specific battery charges when the alleged victims are police officers, EMTs, fire fighters, school officials and/or teachers, or anyone performing a governmental duty.
Further, if the accused and the victim are in a domestic relationship, the prosecutor will likely bring domestic violence charges.
The other person's actions will also need to be determined by an experienced attorney to determine if there are defenses to the crime of assualt. Another consideration is whether the victim's position on the prosecution of the case. The judge and the prosecutor are not required to make a decision on the prosecution of the case based on the victim's wishes, but it is information that may become useful to the defense of an assualt case.
Facing criminal assault charges can be extremely stressful, especially when you do not know the punishment that can result if you are convicted.
Some consequences for an assault conviction include:
There are various defenses to an assault crime in Fresno County. It is possible by alleging any of these defenses, the outcome of your criminal assault case could change. You could receive an outright dismissal, a reduction of the charges, or even an acquittal at jury trial.
Some defenses available to a criminal defendant charged with an assault in Fresno include:
Anyone accused of an assault crime in Fresno needs to retain a skilled and experienced criminal assault lawyer as soon as possible. Assault charges are serious and the prosecutor is likely to request the maximum sentence, which can include jail or prison.
If you are facing an assault charge, contact our law office to see how we will aggressively work to protect your rights at all stages of your assault case. By reaching out to our criminal law office, you will get a free and private meeting to talk about your rights for your felony or misdemeanor assault charges.