Orange County Aggravated Assault Attorneys
The terms “assault” and “battery” get thrown around a lot after a fight goes down in public, but most people are not aware of the legal consequences of these terms. In the state of California, it is a crime for an individual to attempt to harm someone else -- that can lead to a charge of assault. On its own, it is a misdemeanor, but in serious cases, the prosecutor may pursue an “aggravated assault” charge.
Being charged with aggravated assault can upend your entire life. This charge is often filed as a felony, which can put you in prison for years, leave you with thousands of dollars in court fines, and force you to struggle to find work or a home once you are released.
If you or someone you love has been charged with aggravated assault, do not hesitate to contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Your future is on the line. To remain free, you need to work with an experienced Orange County aggravated assault attorney who will investigate every aspect of your case to craft a defense strategy. Call us today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to get a free case evaluation and begin protecting your rights.
As covered under California Penal Code 240 PC, simple assault refers to the act of attempting to harm someone coupled with the ability to actually harm that someone. For example, a child threatening to punch an adult might not be considered assault since the child lacks the strength to actually harm the adult. However, two grown men threatening each other in a parking lot can easily be interpreted as assault.
Assault only involves one individual threatening to harm another; battery is the actual act of harming someone. Aggravated assault is similar to battery, but is a broad term that refers to various scenarios that go beyond the normal definition of assault. While simple assault includes all attempts to harm someone, aggravated assault focused on cases where there was a high likelihood the intended victim would have suffered a serious injury, or where the alleged victim was a protected individual.
You can be charged with aggravated assault if you:
- Assault a peace officer
- Assault a school district employee
- Assault someone with a deadly weapon
- Assault someone with a firearm
- Assault someone with a caustic or flammable substance
The punishments for aggravated assault are based on the specific charge and the nature of the crime. Most assault charges, even with enhancements, are misdemeanors, but some can be filed as felonies. As a violent crime, felony aggravated assault can also count as a “strike” according to California’s Three Strikes Law.
For simple assault, without any enhancements, the maximum penalties are up to six months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. With aggravated assault, a court may sentence you to:
- Assaulting a peace officer: Maximum sentence of up to five years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine. If the assault involved a firearm, the sentence is increased to up to 12 years in prison.
- Assaulting a school employee with a deadly weapon: Maximum sentence of up to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Assaulting someone with a deadly weapon (non-firearm): Maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
- Assaulting someone with a firearm: Maximum sentence of up to 12 years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
- Assaulting someone with a caustic or flammable substance: Maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
In many cases, defendants believed they were acting in self-defense, but this legal argument only applies to certain scenarios. While individuals in California do have a right to “stand their ground,” they are only allowed to use reasonable force to protect themselves.
For example, if someone swung at you at a bar, you had the right to push him away from you. However, if you attempted to retaliate against your attacker with the intent to harm him, you can face an assault charge. This is because you only have the right to use the proportionate amount of force to prevent further injuries to yourself or others in danger. Retaliating against your attacker can weaken your defense, and a judge may see your actions as “going too far.”
Self-defense becomes especially complicated with aggravated assault cases because of the specific nature of these crimes. If you are accused of assaulting a peace officer or using a deadly weapon, it can make it more difficult, but not impossible, to use a self-defense argument in your case. Your best option is to speak to an attorney immediately.
Remember, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you attempted to harm someone, had the ability to harm someone, and did so in an aggravated manner. Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can argue that:
- You made no attempt to harm someone.
- You were acting in defense of yourself or others.
- You did not have the ability to harm someone.
- The alleged victim was not a protected individual.
- It is a case of mistaken identity, and you were falsely accused.
California may have a simple definition for assault, but these cases are anything but.
At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we believe that all of our clients deserve a fair day in court. We always plan for the worst-case scenario and fight for the best. If you let our Orange County assault defense attorney handle your case, we will use all of our resources to investigate your case, review the charges against you, collect evidence to support your defense, negotiate with the district attorney for a reduced charge or complete dismissal, and aggressively defend you in court. We have a successful track record in violent crime cases.
Call Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to get a free case evaluation.
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.