If certain factors exist, your assault charge could be elevated to an aggravated assault.
While many Americans are fans of crime shows and novels, many of us regularly misuse a common legal term — assault. Most people use it to mean that a person has been hit or hurt in some way. In reality, an assault is an attempt to commit a violent act that would cause an injury if it were successful. Battery is the term that most people are thinking of when they say that someone committed “assault” by hitting someone else.
So what exactly is aggravated assault? When something is “aggravated” under the law, it essentially means that it a more serious version of the basic crime. With an aggravated crime, there are factors present that warrant a more serious punishment. For an aggravated assault, those factors include the use of a particular type of deadly weapon or instrument, causing a serious body injury, the victim’s status as the member of a protected class (such as a police officer or a public office holder), or whether you have a previous conviction for a violent crime.
Any type of assault charge could be elevated to an aggravated assault. For example, assault with a deadly weapon occurs when you did something that was likely to result in the use of force against another person, and you did so willfully. At the time that you did this act, you were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that this act would directly and probably result in force being applied to the other person. When you acted, you must have had the ability to apply force to the other person, and you must have used a deadly weapon or any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. As defined by California law, a deadly weapon is any object other than a firearm that is used in a deadly manner or a firearm (including machine guns and assault weapons).
For example, assault with a deadly weapon could be charged if you fired a gun towards another person. Even if your intent was not to hit the other person, but simply to scare him or her, because you had the ability to apply force to the other person and met the other elements of the crime, you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. If the person you shot at was a police officer, then you would be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
If you are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, then you will face additional penalties. Instead of a potential sentence of up to four years in county jail for assault with a deadly weapon, you could be facing up to twelve years in state prison for aggravated assault (depending on which factors were present). That is why it is vitally important that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with an aggravated assault charge or any other criminal charge.
At the Chambers Law Firm, our team of experienced professionals has years of experience representing clients who have been charged with aggravated assaults and other types of crimes. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or email@example.com to learn how we can help you if you have been charged with a criminal offense in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas. Initial consultations are always free.