Have you been accused of committing aggravated assault & battery? If the police believe you hurt another person or threatened to do so, you may be arrested and charged with a crime. At this point, it is essential you contact an attorney for help. You need to take allegations of violence seriously, particularly when they could lead to felony charges. Fresno assault attorney Michael McKneely is prepared to defend you. As a prior prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney with more than a decade of experience, he will fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact him today at (559) 443-7442 to schedule a free case consultation.
California Assault and Battery Law
California Penal Code (PC) defines assault and battery as separate offenses. They are two different crimes. Under PC §242, battery constitutes the intentional use of violence or force against another person. To be convicted of this offense, a harmful touching must occur. You do not have to physically harm the victim. You can even be charged and convicted of battery for spitting on someone.
Per PC §240, assault encompasses the attempt to use violence or force against another person. To be convicted of the crime, no contact needs to be made between you and the alleged victim. Instead, prosecutors must prove the victim felt threatened by your words or actions, and that you had the ability to follow through with your threats.
In many situations, assault and battery are misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000. These penalties increase depending on the specific facts of your case.
California Aggravated Assault
Per PC §245, aggravated assault is an attempt to cause another person serious harm. Police and prosecutors take aggravated assault & battery very seriously. Whenever possible, they will try charge you with a felony. If you are accused of this offense, particularly assault with a deadly weapon, call a Fresno criminal lawyer immediately.
California prosecutors may charge you with aggravated assault if:
- You commit assault with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm. This is a wobbler, meaning the offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted of a felony, you may be punished with up to four years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
- You commit assault with a firearm. This is also a wobbler, punishable by up to 364 days in jail or years in prison.
- You commit assault with a semi-automatic firearm. This is a felony, which can be penalized by up to nine years in prison.
- You commit assault with a machine gun. This is a felony, punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
- You commit assault by any means of force likely to cause the victim great bodily injury. This is a wobbler offense, which can result in up to four years in prison, and fines up to $10,000.
Additionally, if you are accused of committing any of these types of assault against someone you know is a firefighter or peace office who is on duty, you will be charged with a felony, punishable by time in prison.
California Aggravated Battery
Under PC §243(d), the difference between battery and aggravated battery is the type and extent of harm you cause your alleged victim. You can be charged with aggravated battery if you cause another person serious bodily injury, which entails some type of severe harm to their physical condition.
Examples of serious bodily injury include:
- Any lacerations or other injuries requiring stitches
- Loss of consciousness
- Broken bones
- Concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries
Whether or not you caused serious bodily injury is often up for the debate. If you move forward with a jury trial, the jury will ultimately decide whether the victim’s injuries were severe enough to warrant a penalty for aggravated battery.
This is a wobbler offense. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, then you face up to one year in jail, fines reaching $2,000, or both. If you’re found guilty of felony aggravated battery, then you face four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault & Battery
If you are convicted of aggravated assault or battery, you can expect to spend some time in jail or prison and pay fines. You also face home confinement, electronic monitoring, and probation. Despite being out jail or prison, the rules associated with confinement, monitoring, or probation can be difficult to abide by. During such programs, you may not be able to work, attend social gatherings, take your kids to school, or run errands. Once you are on probation, you will have more freedom, yet you will still be restricted in what you can do.
In addition to statutory penalties, you may also have to complete community service, pay restitution to your victim(s), complete an anger management course, or go through counseling. The police may also confiscate your weapons. If you are convicted of a felony, you lose your right to own firearms entirely.
Defending Against Aggravated Assault & Battery
If you are charged with aggravated assault or battery, speak with a Fresno criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Some of the potential defenses that may be available to you include:
- Acting in self-defense or defense of others.
- Not using a deadly weapon or firearm.
- You did not have the actual or apparent ability to carry out your threats.
- You did not cause the victim serious bodily harm.
- You have been falsely accused of the crime.
- There has been a mistake of identity.
- Prosecutors lack sufficient evidence.
Hire an Experienced Fresno Criminal Attorney Today
The best decision you can make when facing charges for aggravated assault & battery is to hire an experienced lawyer. Attorney Michael McKneely has been working in the courtroom for more than 15 years. He has worked as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, which gives him unique insight into your case. He will use his knowledge to vigorously defend you in court.