In California, assault is one of the most commonly charged crimes. If you or your loved one is suspected or accused of assault in Beverly Hills or Southern California, contact a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You cannot waste any time in building a strong defense in your assault charge. Assault penalties have serious consequences. A conviction places your future, reputation and livelihood at risk.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin
A verbal altercation that occurs at any time or place can be misinterpreted as an assault. It does not matter if the altercation takes place at your home or at a restaurant. An assault can occur anywhere.
An assault charge can have a lasting impact on your future. You can face jail or prison time and a permanent criminal record, excessive fines and probation. That is why is important to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney immediately.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we know that you are tempted to explain your side of the story to police or even prosecutors. You believe you are innocent, and you should -- you haven't done anything wrong. It is important to know that you should not tempt to explain your side of the story. Any information you provide can be used against you in court. Trying to explain your side of the situation may result in an assault charge being filed against you or perhaps even another charges. This is why it is vital to seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you or a loved one has been charged with or suspected of assault, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin to discuss your case. Jonathan Franklin will fight aggressively for your legal rights and freedom. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we know that assault charges are commonly filed in California. But the good news it that we have a long track record of getting assault charges dropped, reduced, or resolved without the lasting consequences of a criminal conviction.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Whether you or your loved one is accused of assault, you can count on us. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin for a free consultation at 310-273-9600. Jonathan Franklin will meet with you and go over your assault case in detail. During your consultation, he will also discuss all defense strategies available to you as he works towards getting the charges dropped or reduced.
When you or a loved one is facing an assault charge, you have a lot of questions, concerns and fears. Jonathan Franklin wants to take the mystery and fear of the unknown out of an assault charge. He will explain what the charge entails and explore all the options with you regarding possible defenses and penalties associated with the crime.
Assault Defined According to California Law
The California Penal Code Section 240 defines assault. According to the statute, it is defined as the unlawful attempt with the ability to commit a violent injury to an alleged victim. People often use battery and assault interchangeably. The two criminal charges do not mean the same thing. They are separate offense with different penalties.
Battery is defined under the state’s penal code section 242. Battery occurs when a person inflicts violence or uses violence against another individual. To be charged with battery instead of assault, you must have used actual force or violence against someone. Assault only requires you to unlawfully attempt to commit a violent injury against someone. Whether you are charged with assault, battery or both, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin immediately.
What a Prosecutor Must Prove in an Assault Charge
Elements are separate aspects of a crime. When placed together, these elements form the definition of a particular crime outlined in the California Penal Code. However, in court, the prosecution must use those individual elements to prove that you committed a particular crime such as assault. The prosecution must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be convicted of assault.
Elements Needed to Prove an Assault Case
You committed an act that properly would result in the application of force against another individual. This means the prosecution must show that you intended to use physical violence or force against an alleged victim. The force used can be any type of offensive or harmful touching. Harmful or offensive touching is contact. Even the slightest contact is considered a use of force if it is done in an offensive way.
The offensive touching also includes touching anything attached to a person's body like a phone, purse or clothing article. The contact with the alleged victim does not have to cause an injury. The assault does not have to be direct. You can be accused of making an indirect assault. An indirect assault may involve using an object to touch the alleged victim.
You willfully acted. This is the second element the prosecution needs to prove to show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A willful act is the intent to hurt an alleged victim, intent to break the law or gain an advantage. This means you willingly and purposely committed the crime. The prosecution also must show that you intended to commit the act that would more than likely resulted in an offensive touching of another individual.
The prosecution must prove that you intended to cause physical injury the act was just a playful gesture or prank.
You knew the act may cause an application of force. The prosecution must show that you reasonably knew that your actions would lead to an assault. It does not matter if you wanted to intimidate the alleged victim or not. You must know that the act would result in some type of violence being applied to the alleged victim.
You had the ability to apply unlawful force. According to California law, you must have the ability to carry out the violent injury. Thus, the prosecution must prove you had the ability to harm the alleged victim. For instance, if you the act you are accused of committing is pointing a gun at the alleged victim. If the gun was unloaded at the time, you did not have the ability to shoot the alleged victim. Thus, no assault.
What You Need to Know about an Assault Charge
Apart from a simple assault charge, you can be charged with a more serious crime. This crime is called aggravated assault. To charge you with aggravated assault, the prosecution must prove you committed assault on a third party according to PC 240. If the assault was done with a deadly weapon or other use of force that would cause bodily injury, the conviction can have enhanced penalties. If you are facing any type of assault charges, contact a reputable criminal defense firm immediately.
The penalties for assault charges can be severe in California. If found guilty, the next phase in the case is called a sentencing hearing. This hearing is to inform you of the penalties imposed for committing assault. Anyone convicted of assault will face potential jail time, fines and other serious consequences.
PC 240, or assault, is a misdemeanor. The penalties for simple assault is:
- Maximum six months in county jail.
- $1,000 fine.
- Both a $1,000 fine and six months in county jail.
In addition, the court may impose community service or the requirement to complete a batterer’s program. Assault with a deadly weapon, as defined under PC 245, can be a misdemeanor or felony. Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor depends on the facts of your case. If convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon, an individual my face two to fours in state prison. If convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, the fine is $1,000 and/ or one year in county jail.
If the weapon used is a firearm, the minimum penalty is six months in county jail. However, if the weapon used was a motor vehicle, an individual convicted can lose their driving privileges.
The penalty for an assault increases to one year in county jail and/or $2,000 fine if the alleged victim was a:
- Code enforcement officer.
- Peace officer.
- Emergency medical technician.
- Animal control officer.
- Traffic officer.
- Any public safety person.
Legal Defenses to an Assault Charge
An assault charge can harm your future. For instance, when looking for employment, a misdemeanor on your criminal record is a significant obstacle. An assault charge is very difficult to resolve in the court of public opinion. People may assume you are a violent individual because of the fact that you were charged with assault. Any fine or jail sentence for assault can be crushing to your future.
In order to fight an assault charge, the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin will determine the best defenses available for your case. You will go over every aspect of your case when you meet with Jonathan Franklin. Together you will form a strategy to resolve this matter so that you can move on with your life.
Some of the common defenses used in an assault charge include, but are not limited to:
- Self-defense or the defense of others: Self-defense occurs when you have a reasonable belief that you or someone else was in immediate danger. Instead of the person being an alleged victim, they were an assailant. You are allowed to use reasonable force to defend yourself or someone else from immediate harm. The act you committed was unavoidable.
If you were to use this defense, Jonathan Franklin must prove the force you used was not more than the alleged victim. This will negate a self-defense claim. He must also prove that words alone were not used by the alleged victim. Words without action are not enough to justify an assault crime. It does not matter how offensive the words were.
- False Allegations: It is easy for anyone to falsely accuse you of assault because the crime does not require them to suffer a physical injury. A false accusation is a claim that someone committed a crime when they have not done so. A false accusation may result from anger, revenge or jealousy. Jonathan Franklin has represented clients falsely accused of assault. This situation typically has a lot of underlying complications. Jonathan Franklin must interview witnesses and gather needed evidence to make sure the truth is revealed.
- No ability to use violence or force: One of the assault elements is the requirement to have the ability to use violence or force to carry out the threat of physical injury. This defense attacks that element. It is up to your defense attorney to prove you did not have the ability to use violence or force. This means the threat of physical harm was an empty threat because you were not able to immediately harm them.
- Prosecution failed to meet the burden: This is a defense that shows the prosecution cannot prove each element of the assault crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution cannot meet the burden, you cannot be convicted of assault.
- Alibi: An alibi is a defense that shows you could not have committed assault because you were not at that location when the crime occurred. To support your alibi, you may have witness statements and other evidence showing you were not at the scene of the crime when it occurred.
- Lack of purpose or willfulness: One assault element is intent. You must intend to try to cause physical harm to the alleged victim. However, if you did not intend to use force against the alleged victim, you are not guilty of the crime. Maybe it was an accident that you inflicted a physical injury on an alleged victim. If you had no intent or willfulness to commit assault and you are charged, the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin can help. With an experienced, aggressive attorney on your side, you will have the opportunity to let the prosecution, judge and jury know the truth regarding the criminal charges.
Contact Us Immediately for Legal Help Regarding Your Assault Charge
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we know the law regarding assault charges in California. Jonathan Franklin is an experienced courtroom defense attorney who knows how to negotiate with prosecutors and judges. He knows how to find weaknesses in the case. Jonathan Franklin will expose these weaknesses as he works towards getting charges reduced and dismissed.
If you or your loved one has been charged with criminal assault, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin immediately for a free consultation. Jonathan Franklin will use the proper resources to build an effective defense regardless of how devastating or egregious the facts of the case are against you.
Jonathan Franklin will challenge any contradictory witness and alleged victim statements. As a former prosecutor, Jonathan Franklin knows how the prosecution will approach their case against you. He also has the experience, skills, creativity and confidence needed to analyze an assault case from every angle to determine how to get the case reduced, dropped or resolved without a lasting conviction.
If there are any procedural errors or your Constitutional rights were violated, the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin will fight to protect your legal rights. You may be able to avoid jail time, prison time and fines.
Do not assume you will be convicted of assault. Do not assume you will be sentenced to the harsh penalties associated with an assault crime. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we will work diligently to resolve your assault accusation quickly. We know an assault charge is serious and your future is at stake. Let’s start immediately working on your defense.
For a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin at 310-273-9600. You can call us night or day. We are available to help you 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.