Assault is a criminal tort (wrongdoing) that involves the use of physical force, or the threat of physical force, to harm someone. Even if the victim is not touched, it is the threat, perception, and fear of bodily injury that constitutes assault. An assault can be either a felony assault or a misdemeanor assault.
Because the legal definition of assault is complicated, you need a lawyer that understands the intricacies of California’s assault laws. Criminal defense attorney David Knoll has over twenty years of experience assisting people arrested for felony assault charges. He helps clients tell their side of the story to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor or dropped altogether.
Misdemeanor Assault vs. Felony Assault
There are different categories of assault. Specific factors must be present in order to determine whether you are facing a misdemeanor assault or a felony assault.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor assault
Simple assault is a misdemeanor, because even when victim is not injured, a threat of physical force is present. Proving simple assault in court requires the following:
- That you intentionally acted in a way that could harm someone;
- That you knew that your act could result in hurting someone, including the act of slightly touching;
- That you had the capacity to do harm to someone through force.
Although a simple assault is a misdemeanor, the penalties are still very stiff. If convicted, you could spend up to 6 months in a county jail, be forced to pay harsh fines, placed on informal probation, and forced to attend a batterer’s treatment program.
Aggravated assault is a felony assault
Charges of assault with a deadly weapon and assault with a firearm are leveled when you use a weapon capable of causing great physical injury to someone.
In the former case, charges are filed when a person is badly injured. Charges of assault with a firearm are different. If you possessed a firearm in the commission of an assault, even if you didn’t use it and no one was harmed, you can still be convicted of felony assault. Penalties for felony assaults are severe and often include devastating fines and years in a state penitentiary.
If you are charged with assault, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Witnesses do not know the whole story and have even identified the wrong person! Criminal assault attorney David Knoll ensures that your story is told in court. Protecting your rights and defending you expertly — that’s Sacramento defense attorney David Knoll!
What is Assault & Battery?
Although many states no longer consider “assault & battery” to be two separate crimes, that is not the case in California. Both assault and battery carry the intent to harm. In the case of assault, physical contact is not required to be charged, whereas in the case of battery, physical contact is involved.
Whether you are facing trial for assault or battery, you need an experienced attorney to handle your case. Sacramento criminal defense attorney David Knoll has successfully defended hundreds of similar cases and serves your best interest at all times.
Assault or Simple Assault
Assault occurs when you willfully attempt to use physical force to harm another individual, or when you threaten another individual, creating fear that you will physically injure him or her. To prove assault, the prosecuting attorney has to show that you were fully aware that your actions could lead to physical harm, and that you were capable of carrying out a harmful act.
You can be charged with simple assault if you go to punch someone and make contact. You can also be charged with simple assault if you don’t make physical contact while trying to punch someone. Lastly, you can be charged with simple assault if you make a threatening gesture at someone.
Penalties for Simple Assault
A simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face a fine of up to $1000, six months in county jail, completion of a batterers’ program, and/or community service.
The district attorney can charge you with either a misdemeanor assault or a felony assault, depending upon the circumstances. You will definitely receive a harsher sentence if you assault a peace officer, fireman, an EMT or paramedic, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, search and rescue member, or medical personnel giving emergency care.
Battery or Simple Battery
California law defines battery and simple battery as an act of willfully touching someone in a harmful or offensive matter. You can be charged with battery whether you physically hurt someone or not.
For example, there is a big shirt sale at a department store and several women are grabbing items off the table. A woman gets irate because another woman took an item she wanted. To get the item for herself, she pushes the woman off balance and takes the shirt. No one is hurt. Another example: A baseball player doesn’t like the call the umpire made against him, so he spits in his face. Both of these could be made into cases of battery.
Penalties for Simple Battery
In California, simple battery is considered a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could be fined up to $2,000, sentenced for up to six months in county jail, or sentenced to probation for up to six months.
A prosecuting attorney has the right to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony if the alleged victim is a law enforcement officer, a member or alternate on a jury related to your case, is a school employee performing his job, or a public worker injured by battery.
Defending Assault & Battery
With over twenty years of experience, assault & battery attorney David Knoll helps you understand the laws surrounding your case and creates a solid and powerful defense for you. He works to prove you are not guilty by showing you acted in self-defense or in the defense of another person, that you did not act willfully, that you were incapable of inflicting force, that you were falsely accused, and/or it was an accident (thus there was no intent). To effectively tell your side of the story, you need a capable attorney on your side — that attorney is David Knoll.Help with Assault & Battery