What You Need to Know About Aggravated Assault

What You Need to Know About Aggravated Assault

Under California law, there are two main types of assault charges — standard assault and aggravated assault. While both charges are certainly serious, the law considers aggravated assault a more violent crime than simple assault, leaving you to potentially face harsher penalties. 

Here at the H Law Group, we value knowledge in the court of law highly and want to ensure citizens of Los Angeles County understand the differences between these two LA crimes. 

Aggravated Assault vs Simple Assault

California Penal Code 240 explains simple assault as the "unlawful attempt" of committing a "violent injury" to another person. Additionally, the defendant had the ability to commit this injury. 

An example of simple assault is someone trying to slap another person during an argument, but they miss. The person intended to injure the other person but didn’t hit them. 

California Penal Code 245 covers aggravated assault. With this assault crime, the defendant clearly meant to cause great bodily harm to the other person. There are a few types of aggravated assault charges: 

  • Penal Code 241 — Assault on a peace or police officer
  • Penal Code 244 — Assault with caustic chemicals
  • Penal Code 245(a)(1) — Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Penal Code 245(a)(2) — Assault with a firearm
  • Penal Code 245(a)(4) — Assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury
  • Penal Code 245.5 — Assault with a deadly weapon on a school employee

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault?

In some cases, penalties for aggravated assault crimes depend on the severity of the crime. Aggravated assault is a “wobbler” crime in California, which means it’s treated as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the case and judge’s ruling. 

If convicted of a misdemeanor under aggravated assault, penalties may include: 

  • County jail sentence of up to 12 months
  • Fines not exceeding $10,000
  • Weapon seizure (if a weapon was involved)
  • Probation
  • Community Services
  • Mandatory attendance at an anger management course

If charged with felony aggravated assault, a defendant faces up to four years in a California state prison. 

Additionally, depending on a defendant's criminal history, the California Three Strikes Law may come into play. Under the Three Strikes Law, a defendant with two previous felony convictions for serious or violent crimes automatically faces a jail sentence of 25 years to life if convicted of a third felony or certain other crimes. 

An aggravated assault conviction may also negatively impact a defendant's immigration status. If convicted of felony aggravated assault, a non-U.S. citizen defendant may face deportation or may not be able to return to the United States if they ever left. 

How Can Aggravated Assault Charges Be Defended?

A criminal defense attorney has three main ways to defend an aggravated assault charge. They include: 

  • False Accusation — The defendant was deceitfully accused of aggravated assault. This sometimes happens if the other party is jealous or seeking revenge on the defendant. 
  • Act of Self-Defense — The defendant's actions were a result of them defending themselves or others around them from the other person. 
  • There Was No Intent — The defendant did not willfully try to cause bodily harm to the other person. 
  • There Were No Means to Commit Bodily Harm — The defendant never had the ability to commit "great bodily harm" on the other person. 

Aggravated assault charges are serious accusations. If you or a loved one finds themselves falsely accused of these types of assault crimes, you need a strong criminal defense attorney at your side. The H Law Group is honored to defend the citizens of Los Angeles, Irvine, Temecula, San Diego, San Jose, Encino, and Orange Counties. Contact us for a consultation today at (888) 499-4948 or www.thehfirm.com.

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