Simple assault is usually charged if the person assaulted is either not injured or not significantly injured. If the complainant had a reasonable apprehension of harmful or offensive contact, it is enough.
Battery is different and the terms “assault” and “battery” should not be used interchangeably. In California, the two crimes may be related but they are separate and distinct.
Battery requires harmful or offensive contact on a victim i.e., physical contact must have occurred. Threats are not enough.
If you get angry with a friend and aggressively throw a ball at him while fooling around, this could be construed as a simple assault even if it does not cause any injury. However, if you hit him with a baseball bat and cause bruising, the offense is far more likely to be charged as aggravated assault or battery.
Assault is considered a violent offense in California even though it may not involve any physical contact or injury. As such, you should not expect leniency from the justice system.
Your best bet is to enlist the help of an experienced assault lawyer who understands the relevant laws, is experienced in defending those accused of assault, and knows the local court system in Newport Beach.
Simple assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor in Newport Beach. Aggravated assault may be charged as a felony, especially if a gun was used in the crime.
If you are convicted of simple assault, the following penalties may apply in addition to a misdemeanor conviction showing permanently on your criminal record:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Up to 12 months of probation
If the assault is committed against a healthcare provider or public servant, expect the following:
- Up to one year in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
- A term of probation
A “wobbler” assault is an assault that is charged as a misdemeanor or felony and may lead to the following penalties:
- 12 months, 16 months, two years, or three years in a county jail or state prison
- A fine of up to $2,000
- 2 years of probation
These penalties are harsh but you should never think that you do not have any options other than pleading guilty to the assault charges.
Cases can get dismissed, evidence may be called into question, acquittals can happen at trial, and even if conviction is likely, an experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate an outcome that avoids time in jail and prevents the harshest long-term consequences.