Assault Attorney in Orange County
Assault is a wide-ranging offense but all charges have one thing in common – jail time is a real possibility.
If you are convicted, you can expect the consequences of a permanent criminal record to affect future employment, education choices, and possibly travel and immigration status.
Any charge for assault in Orange County, therefore, needs to be taken seriously even if you think it was trivial. Especially if you believe you are innocent.
Bryan R. Kazarian is an experienced Orange County assault lawyer. He will protect your rights and defend your freedom. Call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today at 855-918-4253 to discuss your case and discover your legal options.
Assault charges in California
Assault charges in California are outlined under Penal Code 240 (CPC 240).
While most assault cases are charged as misdemeanors in Orange County, some more serious assaults are “wobblers” that can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors.
Simple assault vs. aggravated assault
Simple assault occurs when someone intentionally attempts to injure a person or to place them in imminent fear of bodily harm.
No injury or even contact with another person is necessary for a person to be charged with a simple assault crime. Verbal threats, physical gestures or attempts to cause injury or touch another person may be enough to initiate a charge.
While the same also applies to aggravated assault charges, a firearm or other deadly weapon is often alleged to have been used. This is what makes this crime more serious, hence the term “aggravated”.
Another way that an assault offense becomes “aggravated” in California is if it is perpetrated against a police officer, a peace officer, or certain public servants. This includes:
- A parking control officer
- Healthcare provider
- Emergency medical technician or paramedic
- Process server
- Traffic officer
- Code enforcement officer
- Animal control officer, or
- Search and rescue member
Assault vs. Battery
You know what assault is but it is often confused with the charge of battery. In fact, you may hear the term “assault and battery” used. The two crimes are distinct but related.
Battery occurs when someone inflicts harmful or offensive contact on a victim. As you know, with assault, a victim need only be put in reasonable apprehension of harmful or offensive contact and no contact (or injury) is necessary.
If an assault is not prevented or stopped, it often leads to a battery. Another way to look at assault is a battery offense that was never completed.
What happens if you are charged with assault in Orange County?
If you are charged with an assault crime in California, do not expect leniency from the justice system.
Punishing violent offenses to the full extent of the law has become the modus operandi of prosecutors in Orange County and beyond. That is why you need an experienced assault lawyer to defend your rights and freedoms.
Even though assault involves no physical contact or injury, it is still considered a violent crime. Simple assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor in California. However, aggravated assault is more serious and may be charged as a felony.
If convicted of simple assault under CPC 240, you can expect a misdemeanor conviction on your record and the following punishments:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A base fine of up to $1,000
- 1 to 3 years of probation
If the assault is committed against a healthcare provider or public servant, the misdemeanor conviction will be accompanied by the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- A base fine of up to $2,000
- 1 to 3 years of probation
A “wobbler” assault can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction that could mean the following punishments:
- 12 months, 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in a county jail or state prison
- A base fine of up to $2,000
- 1 to 3 years of probation
Remember, being charged with assault is not the same as being convicted of assault.
Two people witnessing a crime will never see it the same way. As your defense attorneys, our job is to uncover the truth and to relay that truth to the prosecutor before charges are formally filed against you or as soon as possible thereafter.
Defending an assault charge
At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we aim to get your assault charges dismissed so that the above penalties will not apply in your case.
To do this, we will need to examine the evidence in fine detail, discuss your version of events, and liaise with the prosecution. If the evidence against you is not substantial, there is every chance that the charges may be dismissed or downgraded.
If the case cannot be dismissed, our team is prepared to fight for your freedoms in court. Bryan R. Kazarian has a strong track record inside and outside of the courtroom in assault cases in Orange County.
Generally speaking, we will use one of the following three defenses:
1. Self defense
In many cases, a person accused of assault may claim that he or she was assaulted or battered first. Self-defense then becomes the leading defense strategy.
In California, if you are placed in immediate apprehension of an immediate attack, you have the legal right to use reasonable force to defend yourself from the attack. Often, this is an area of dispute because the use of disproportionate or excessive force is not permitted.
For example, if someone tries to push you down, you have the right to resist and even to push back. However, you do not have the right to pull out a gun and shoot the person, as this would be considered excessive force. You would likely be charged with a crime.
2. Lack of intent
To convict you of assault, the prosecutor must prove that you attempted to hit or touch someone in a harmful or offensive manner. If you did something by accident, it does not count as an assault.
For example, if someone pushes you into someone else, injuring that person, it is not assault because you did not do it intentionally.
Likewise, if you tripped when walking down the street and, as you were falling, you grabbed on to someone else and that person was injured, the prosecutor would have a difficult time proving that you had general criminal intent and meant to injure this person.
3. Mistaken identity
The wrong person is frequently charged with a crime. If you were not in the area when the alleged assault occurred and have a strong alibi, the prosecution would struggle to sustain a conviction.
With the predominance of video surveillance, the mistaken identity defense is less plausible in many cases nowadays. However, if there was no video footage or it is of poor quality, it may raise a reasonable doubt as to the issue of identity.
Your defense attorney can work to gain access to that footage and may be able to bring the claims of the prosecutor, law enforcement, and even witnesses into doubt.
Remember, criminal prosecutors and law enforcement officials have vast resources available when prosecuting assault crimes in Orange County. That means you need an assault attorney with vast experience.
If Bryan R. Kazarian is not successful in obtaining a dismissal in your court case, he will look to ensure that the consequences for your future are the least stringent as possible.
Been charged with assault in Orange County?
If you or someone you care about has been charged with assault in the Orange County area, we can help. We will build a defense strategy that aims to get the charges dismissed, reduced, and/or the consequences mitigated.
Call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today at 855-918-4253 or contact us here to request a consultation.
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