OC Assault & Battery Attorneys
Whether you were involved in a bar fight, an argument at work, or a disagreement with a family member, it is important to understand how your words and actions could have been interpreted under the law. California has broad definitions of assault and battery, both of which can be leveled against a defendant in a criminal case. However, you should also note that these are two separate charges under Californian law. Penal Code 240 prohibits assault, defining it as the threat or appeared intent of hurting another individual using physical violence. Battery, under Penal Code 242, is differentiated as the actual act of physical violence.
If you are facing a charge of assault and/or battery, you should immediately contact the OC assault and battery defense attorney at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Our lead attorney is a member of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyer and has extensive experience protecting clients of serious charges in Orange County courts. He can clearly explain your rights under the law, craft a detailed defense strategy, and fight to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. To get started on your case, call our office at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999.
"The attorneys at Michael L. Guisti’s Law Office were able to get my assault charged thrown out of court. Guisti’s attorneys knew there wasn’t enough evidence to prove this crime. Thank you so much Michael L. Guisti’s Law Office for giving me justice..."
While many people often use assault and battery interchangeably, these are two separate charges under California law that can be paired together in a criminal trial.
Assault – According to Penal Code 240, assault refers to “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” Assault can include intimidation, verbal threats, violent gestures, and an actual attempt to harm someone. In addition, if someone threatens violence, it must be reasonably possible for them to commit the act of violence. Essentially, the victim must have believed that they could have been harmed by the defendant.
Battery – Defined under Penal Code 242, battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” This means that the defendant must have actually gone through with a threat or succeeding in harming the victim.
These two crimes are often charged simultaneously if a defendant is accused of threatening violence against a victim and does cause actual physical harm, drastically increasing the penalties for these crimes. However, the charges can also be enhanced depending on the circumstances of the crime and who the victim was.
Under California law, assault and battery can either be simple or aggravated. Simple assault and battery mean that the threat of violence or the actual act of violence was not likely to lead to serious bodily harm, such as shoving someone. However, the crime can become aggravated if a weapon is used (Penal Code 245(a)), such as a firearm, if the victim was likely to suffer great bodily harm, or if the victim did suffer great bodily harm.
Assault and battery charges in Orange County can include:
- Simple Assault
- Simple Battery
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon – Penal Code 245(a)
- Aggravated Battery – Penal Code 243(d)
- Elder Abuse – Penal Code 243.25
- Domestic Violence or Corporal Injury to an Intimate Partner – Penal Code 273.5
- Sexual Assault and Battery – Penal Code 243.4
- Criminal Threats – Penal Code 422
Charges can also be enhanced if assault or battery is made against a police officer, emergency healthcare provider, nurse, traffic officer, animal control officer, lifeguard, or another public worker. Each of these charges can carry harsh penalties that follow you for the rest of your life, which is why retaining the services of our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers in Orange County could mean the difference between protecting your future and your freedom and suffering serious repercussions for many years to come.
The amount of time you could potentially serve in prison, as well as any fines you have to pay or restrictions on your life, will vary depending on the specific charge. While some charges are misdemeanors, others are wobblers or automatic felonies, meaning your sentence could be drastically lengthened. There is also the matter of any other enhancements that could influence your case.
For simple assault, you could face:
- Up to six months in a county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Restitution to victims
If the assault was committed against a public worker or peace officer, your charges could be enhanced to up to one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
In turn, simple battery and aggravated battery are both wobblers, which means you can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. For misdemeanor battery, you can face:Up to six months in a county jail A fine of up to $2,000 Restitution to victims Probation
For felony battery charges, you can face:
- Up to two, three, or four years in a state prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Restitution to victims
In addition to these consequences, you will have a criminal record that could inhibit where you work and live. If you already have two violent crime offenses on your record, California's Three Strikes law could double your prison sentence. Because of how profoundly these charges could affect your life, there is nothing more important than retaining our legal defense as soon as possible.
Facing charges of assault and battery can extremely nerve-wracking. You are likely wondering how your words or actions could have led to your arrest or how you are going to beat your charges. First, remember that you are innocent until proven guilty under the law and that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. That means the district attorney handling your case must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime under California law.
If you work with Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our lead attorney can thoroughly investigate your case, review evidence, and speak to witnesses to build a detailed defense, which can include:
- You did not act willfully: All assault and battery charges must be based on the defendant acted willfully, meaning that you cannot be charged if the victim suffered an injury through an accident.
- Reasonable threat: With assault charges, the victim must reasonably believe that the defendant could have harmed them. Your attorney can convince the jury that you were unlikely to follow through on the threat or that you were incapable of following through on it.
- Self-defense: It is entirely possible for a victim of battery to be charged with the crime even when they were defending themselves. However, your attorney can employ California’s self-defense laws and argue that you were acting to defend yourself or others from harm, such as by citing your defensive wounds or witness testimony.
Each case is different, and there are many factors that can influence how the court chooses to try you. But with any assault and battery charge, you should immediately contact an attorney who can advocate for your rights.
Law Office of Michael L. Guisti is known for skilled and sophisticated representation. We understand what you are going through at this time and we know how to protect your rights. Many assault and battery charges are the result of unfair accusations or misleading circumstances. Don't let one unfortunate event hurt your life. Call Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to request a complimentary consultation with an OC violent crime lawyer.
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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.