Westminster Assault Attorneys
Assault offenses in Westminster, California come in many forms but they all have one thing in common, they can all lead to jail time.
If convicted, the long-term consequences of a permanent criminal record that contains an assault conviction can be detrimental. It can affect employment, housing, immigration status, or even child custody arrangements. In some cases, the long-term impact can even outweigh the short-term penalties.
Therefore, it is important that you take an assault charge seriously and prepare the best defense possible.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are experienced with Westminster assault cases and are capable of protecting your rights and defending you against potential jail time.
Call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today at 855-918-4253 to discuss your case and legal options. We are ready to defend you against your assault charge even if it means going to trial.
Types of assault
Assault is a type of violent crime and, as such, it is treated very harshly by the California justice system. Prosecutors aggressively seek convictions and California has some of the harshest punishments in the country for assault convictions.
Although classified as a violent crime, it is not necessary that the victim is injured by the assault. Only the attempt is necessary for an assault charge. Assault is defined as:
“…an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
Depending on the severity of the alleged assault crime, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
Assault vs battery
The terms assault and battery are often misused or used interchangeably. However, these terms are distinctly different and must not be confused. While both are considered violent crimes, there is an important difference: assault does not require physical contact while battery does.
Just like with assault, there are varying degrees of battery. The degree of battery charged will depend on the circumstances, the amount of force, whether a weapon was used, and the type of weapon.
Battery is generally considered a more serious crime and carries harsher penalties than assault because physical contact occurs that can lead to serious injuries.
However, the lack of contact with another person should not downplay the severe penalties that come with an assault conviction in Westminster, CA. It needs to be taken seriously and you must prepare a viable defense to avoid potentially life-changing penalties.
Misdemeanor assault vs felony assault
Depending on the severity of the assault, it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The prosecutor’s decision will be based upon the extent of injury that would have resulted if the defendant’s alleged attempt to injure the victim had been successful, whether a weapon was used and the type of weapon.
A felony assault charge is reserved for an assault with the greatest potential for serious injuries. An assault that is considered a “serious felony” will qualify as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes law.
Penalties for assault charges in Westminster
If convicted of a misdemeanor assault in Westminster, penalties may include jail, fines, restitution payments to the victim, probation, counseling, the loss of the right to own a firearm, and a permanent criminal record.
Under California’s Three Strikes law, a conviction for a “serious felony” assault will result in enhanced punishments for any future felony offenses or a punishment enhancement for the current qualifying assault conviction if you have any prior strike convictions.
Penalties for simple assault
A conviction for simple assault under Penal Code 240 is charged as a misdemeanor and can lead to:
- Six months in county jail or
- A maximum fine of $1,000 plus penalty assessments or
You may also have to complete a batterer’s program (at your own cost) or perform community service.
Penalties for assault against a peace officer
A misdemeanor conviction for assault against a peace officer under Penal Code 241 can lead to:
- One year in county jail or
- A maximum fine of $2,000 plus penalty assessments or
Peace officers include police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, mobile intensive care paramedics, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, a search and rescue member engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical outside of a hospital, clinic or other health care facility.
Penalties for aggravated assault
Aggravated assault is an assault with a deadly weapon or with force likely to produce great bodily injury. It may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony under Penal Code 245, the penalties are as follows:
Charged as a misdemeanor
- Up to one year in county jail or
- A maximum fine of $10,000 plus penalty assessments or
Charged as a felony
- Two, three, or four years in state prison or
- A maximum fine of $10,000 plus penalty assessments or
If the deadly weapon used was a firearm, the mandatory minimum punishment is six months in county jail.
If you are convicted of a felony for assault where a vehicle was found to be the deadly weapon used, your driving privileges will be revoked for life under Vehicle Code Section 13351.5(a).
Possible defenses for assault charges in Westminster
At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, our goal is to reach the best outcome possible given your particular circumstances.
To do so, we examine the evidence in fine detail, determine all viable defenses, and liaise with the prosecution. If the evidence against you is not substantial, we will fight for a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
If the evidence against you is compelling and dismissal is not possible, we will utilize all available defenses and fight for your freedom in court. The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian has a strong track record inside and outside of the courtroom for Westminster assault cases.
The following are just a few of the most common defenses used to defend against an assault charge:
1. Self-defense (or defense of others)
If you were assaulted or battered first, self-defense may be a valid defense strategy.
Under California law, if you are fearful of an immediate attack (or, in some cases, another person), you have the legal right to defend yourself or that person.
Disproportionate or excessive force is not permitted but if you used reasonable self-defense measures, it can result in your acquittal and release.
2. No intent
Unless you intended to assault the victim, you cannot be convicted of assault. The prosecution will need to prove that you acted intentionally, i.e., you attempted to strike the victim in a harmful or offensive manner.
3. Mistaken identity
If you have a verifiable alibi for when the alleged assault occurred, the prosecution will struggle to secure a conviction against you.
After all, it is not uncommon for the wrong person to be charged with a crime, especially if there is no video surveillance (or the quality of the video is poor), if it is a crowded setting, or if the lighting was poor.
4. Lack of credibility
Sometimes, the prosecution relies on testimony from witnesses or a victim who is not credible. Events are often misinterpreted and sometimes people deliberately falsify their testimony.
If the witnesses who are testifying against you are not credible, The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will use this as a defense for the charges against you.
Have you been charged with assault in Westminster?
Our lawyers are available to help 24/7
Criminal prosecutors and law enforcement officials in Westminster have vast resources at their disposal to prosecute you for assault. That means you need an assault attorney with vast experience.
If you were arrested in Westminster, California, and need legal assistance for an assault charge, The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian can provide seasoned representation and skilled defense services.
Our lawyers are available to help 24/7. Start with an initial online consultation.
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