Orange County Assault & Battery Attorney
Crimes of assault and battery in Orange County, Riverside and throughout our state are dealt with harshly by the California criminal justice system. Whether these charges come from a domestic dispute or a barroom brawl, anyone’s who been arrested on these types of charges will face jail time, probation, restitution and most likely significant and negative social consequences, including child custody interference and even fewer employment opportunities.
At Fakhimi & Associates, our Southern California assault & battery attorneys know what’s at stake, and we take our responsibilities very seriously. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony — even when aggravating factors are present — our team works to mitigate the charges at every stage. These cases are far more common than most realize. According to reports from the California Department of Justice:
There are typically more than 300,000 assault and battery arrests, including many Orange County arrests, throughout the state each year. On average, one-third of those arrests involve weapons, which then adds an aggravating factor to what the defendant is facing.
What’s the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Although “assault-and-battery” are often mentioned in conjunction with one another, these charges are not interchangeable. They are in fact two separate and distinct crimes. Assault, per California Penal Code 240, is the attempt to use force or violence on another human being or even a threat to inflict injury. This must be coupled with the present and perceived ability to commit this violent act. In other words, physical contact is not required for someone to be charged with assault in California. Battery, meanwhile, is defined by California Penal Code 242. This consists of willful or unlawful use of force that is deemed harmful or offensive. In these instances, it doesn’t matter if the other person, in fact, suffered any pain or injury. The crux of the case will be whether the defendant touched the victim in a way that was deemed threatening, violent or otherwise harmful. Because these cases are prone to many unexpected shifts, charges that might change and other factors, having a qualified Southern California criminal defense attorney is crucial. The right legal representation can mean big differences in the charges a defendant faces, whether he faces jail time and whether he even sees his case make it into a courtroom. This is one of those moments in life when being prepared matters. In the event a battery does result in grievous injury, the defendant may then be charged under Penal Code 243(d), battery causing serious bodily injury.
Penalties for Assault and Battery
The consequences for a conviction of a California assault or a California battery will depend on several factors, including:
- Whether victim suffered injury, and if so, how severe.
- The nature of the crime (sexual battery, for example, is treated differently than other forms).
- The identity of the victim (family members, intimate partners, children, police, firefighters, EMTs and medical workers have special protections).
- There was a weapon involved.
- Whether the case is charged as a felony or misdemeanor.
- Your prior criminal history.
A conviction for simple battery under Penal Code 242, assuming it does not involve a police officer or other protected person, is probably going to be filed as a misdemeanor. That carries the possible penalties of:
- Up to six months in jail
- Summary probation
- Maximum $2,000 fine
- Penalties for misdemeanor assault are similar, except the maximum fine is $1,000 instead of $2,000.
However, if the crime is raised to a felony, penalties are far more serious. For example, if you commit assault with a deadly weapon (a gun, knife or other means of force likely to cause great bodily injury), you may be charged with a felony. The same is true if the victim was a police officer or if the individual suffered serious injury. In those cases, penalties may include: A prison term of between 16 months and four years (sometimes longer if the victim was injured or the crime was
- sexual in nature
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Probation that extends several years
- Completion of educational courses related to your conduct, such as domestic violence, anger management or substance abuse treatment
What if I Swung, but Missed in a Fight?
One client asks, “I was in a fight, and while I swung at a guy, I missed. Am I facing criminal charges in Orange County?” The answer is yes. Taking a swing at someone but you miss during a heated argument is considered a simple assault in California, provided the intended victim was within striking distance.
Can an Assault and Battery Keep Me From Getting a Job?
Not only can an assault and battery conviction prevent you from getting that perfect job, it can limit your options in a number of other ways, as well. A conviction, regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, will become part of your permanent criminal record. It can significantly impact your life in a number of ways. If you face future convictions of other crimes, you can and likely will face a tougher sentence. A criminal record, even if it is a misdemeanor, can be easily found and used against you when you’re looking for a home, applying for a job or just looking for a fresh start. Those convicted of felonies have even more to face. They lose their rights to own firearms, to vote or run for public service. Any professional licenses are in jeopardy, as well. If you’re wondering the differences between simply acceptable and remarkable defense representation, you’ll see that difference in what ultimately happens in your case and what efforts are made to protect your future.
Defenses Against Assault and Battery Charges
The strategy your Southern California assault & battery attorney formulates in your case is going to depend heavily on the underlying circumstances.Among those possible defenses: Self-defense. This can be asserted if the defendant had a reasonable belief he or someone else was in imminent danger of bodily injury or unlawful touching, or it was necessary to defend against danger, and the amount of force used was limited to that which was reasonably necessary. No willful action. Although prosecutors don’t need to show the defendant intended to harm, they do need to prove the defendant acted willfully. So if the incident stemmed from an accident, there can be no case. Lack of ability to inflict force or violence. This is key in assault cases. It’s not enough for the state to show defendant threatened someone. He or she must also have had a way to do so.
Experienced Assault & Battery Defense Lawyers
The physical and legal consequences of assault & battery charges in Orange County & Riverside, CA are serious. These charges affect your life in ways you likely haven’t even considered. It’s not enough to find a lawyer; you need an experienced assault and battery litigator who can guide you as we defend your rights and work to prove your innocence. Our team of defense attorneys will review all the evidence in your case and look for failures or shortcomings in the investigative process and any other avenues that benefit efforts of wishing to convict you of these crimes. We encourage you to contact our law offices today to discuss your case.
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