To be charged with assault in the state of California, an individual does not have to engage in an actual attack. Furthermore, the victim of the crime doesn’t have to sustain serious injuries to press charges. If a person is facing an assault charge in Los Angeles, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney. He or she may help a person better understand his or her rights and how to preserve them.
What Are the Elements of Assault?
There are four main elements that need to be established to win a conviction in an assault case. The first element is showing that the act involves applying force to another person. It is also necessary to show that the act was intentional and that the person committing the act knew what he or she was doing. Finally, it must be established that the individual actually had the ability to carry out the act in question.
Who Has the Ability to Carry Out an Act?
The ability to carry out an act typically depends on a person’s physical abilities at the time an incident occurs. For instance, someone who is in a wheelchair or who is missing a limb is less likely to carry out the act of punching or kicking somebody. However, those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs could still be charged with assault as they could be capable of touching, punching or otherwise making forceful contact.
Any Type of Touching Can Result in an Assault Charge
If a person touches someone else in a rude or angry fashion, that could be considered assault regardless of the severity of the act. It is also considered assault if a person is touched through his or her clothing. However, there are many different ways in which someone who is charged with assault could defend him or herself from the charges.
How Defenses Are Available in An Assault Case?
Under California law, an individual is allowed to fight back against any attack or attempted attack on his or her life or property. An individual may also be allowed to prevent attacks against family members or their animals in limited situations.
Therefore, an attorney may use a self-defense argument in court to cast doubt on the assault charge. In some cases, a supposed victim may make a false allegation against an individual. For example, a former spouse or angry neighbor may say that they were touched or threatened even if there is no evidence to suggest it happened.
What Types of Penalties Could a Person Face?
A person who is convicted of an assault charge could face a variety of penalties. For instance, it is possible to be sentenced to up to six months in jail. Other penalties include community service or probation, and these penalties could be levied instead of jail time or in addition to it. Finally, those who are convicted of an assault charge may be ordered to take anger management or similar courses.
Could a Plea Bargain Be Available in an Assault Case?
It is possible that a prosecutor could choose to come to a plea deal in a case as opposed to taking it to trial. While this would technically be a guilty plea on behalf of the defendant, the consequences of the plea could be less severe than if a person was found guilty by a judge or jury. For instance, a plea deal could suspend any sentence imposed as long as the defendant doesn’t get in trouble for a predetermined amount of time.
If you have been charged with assault, it is important to seek counsel as soon as possible. It is likely that whoever has accused you of this crime will have counsel available to them, and the state will also have a strong understanding of the law as it pursues a case against you. Therefore, speaking with an attorney can help you level the playing field as the case unfolds.