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When Is Assault Charged as a Felony in California?

July 11, 2019

Depending on the amount of force used and if a weapon was used, assault may be charged as a felony.

When Is Assault Charged as a Felony in California?

Under California law, assault is defined as an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury on another person’s body with the present ability to do so.  There are three types of assault in California:

  1. Simple Assault;
  2. Aggravated Assault; and
  3. Assault with the Intent to Commit a Felony.

The way that assault is charged depends on whether weapons were used during the commission of the crime, and how much force was used.

As a criminal defense attorney Los Angeles, CA can explain, simple assault is a misdemeanor offense.  It will result in a punishment of up to 6 months in jail, along with fines.  Aggravated assault is a wobbler offense.  This means that is can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. It will result in a sentence in state prison or in county jail, plus fines.  Assault with the intent to commit a felony is a felony, punishable by incarceration in state prison for between 2 and 6 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

A charge of felony assault requires the prosecution to prove additional elements above and beyond the basic definition of assault.  For felony assault, a prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant used a deadly weapon other than a firearm, that the defendant’s actions would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person that was likely to produce great bodily injury, or the defendant used a firearm.  In addition, the prosecutor must show that the defendant did the act willfully, and not in defense of self or someone else.

If aggravated assault is charged as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail.  If charged as a felony, it is punishable by between two and four years in state prison.  The fine for aggravated assault — however it is charged — is up to $10,000.

There are a number of defenses to a felony assault charge in California.  A skilled criminal defense attorney Los Angeles, CA can work with you to develop the best factual and legal defense based on the facts of the case.  For example, if you acted in self defense, you can use that fact to have the charge reduced or dismissed.  Alternatively, if the force that you used was not likely to cause great bodily injury (defined as significant or substantial physical injury), that may be an argument that your lawyer could make to have the charge reduced.

As a former prosecutor, Attorney Dan E. Chambers has experience on both sides of the criminal justice process.  He understands the law, and has the practical knowledge to help his clients obtain the best possible results based on the facts of their case.  To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact the Chambers Law Firm today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com.

 

 

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