Assault Attorney, Los Angeles & Orange County

If you are accused of an assault or battery crime in Los Angeles or Orange County, be very careful. The consequences of a conviction can be disastrous.

It is key to get a skilled assault attorney or battery crime lawyer on your side asap. All cases can potentially be won no matter how they appear at first.

Our award-winning assault attorneys are expert at fighting to get the best possible outcome, reduce or dismiss charges and keep you out of jail. We are here to help.

Experienced Assault and Battery Attorneys

California assault and battery laws cover a wide range of crimes. While the word 鈥渂attery鈥 implies a serious beating, you can be charged even if there is no injury at all. Accusations are easily exaggerated and little to no physical evidence may be required.

Our outstanding record handling 1,000鈥檚 of cases includes: assault, simple battery, aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, battery on a police officer and elder abuse charges.

Former Prosecutor Fighting For You

Our former District Attorneys know exactly how police, courts and Prosecutors build their case against you and where to look for flaws to use in your defense.

Often it is not the facts of the case that result in the best outcome, but understanding the system, relationships and a smart presentation of your case to the court or DA. Our assault defense lawyers know the legal system inside and out.

You can rest assured our Orange County or Los Angeles assault and battery lawyers will fight vigorously to defend you and achieve the best resolution possible.

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Assault & Battery Crime Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles & Orange County


California assault and battery laws

Assault and battery are actually two separate crimes, even though they are often mentioned together. Criminal charges are subject to a statute of limitations or time limit by which charges must be made against an alleged offender.

California laws define levels of assault or battery crimes:

  1. Assault: can be merely attempting to physically injure someone. Assault does not require any physical contact or injury.

  2. Battery: actually inflicting force or violence on someone, although the victim does not have to experience pain or injury.

  3. Aggravated battery causing 鈥榮erious bodily injury鈥 by willfully touching someone in a harmful or offensive manner that causes injury.

  4. Aggravated battery causing 鈥榞reat bodily injury鈥 with serious physical injuries, pain and/or medical care.

Our Los Angeles assault crimes defense lawyer will skillfully defend you for all assault and battery charges in the California Penal Code including:


Even minor touching can result in criminal charges

Our Orange County assault and battery crime attorney understands that being convicted of a violent assault crime in Orange County or Los Angeles can affect your future, your job, your freedom and sometimes immigration status.

Any contact during a tense moment can be enough for Police and DAs to charge you with a battery crime. Even if no harm is inflicted and little to no force is involved.

Police and judges often assume that assault and battery incidents are severe beatings that could result in murder. The reality is heated arguments, stress, alcohol or simmering anger issues often cause a flare up that may work itself out without police intervention.

Once the police are called and arrive, someone will almost always be arrested and hauled to jail. Police officers rarely have a choice whether to arrest someone.

Hiring an assault defense attorney

The first thing to do if you鈥檝e been arrested or are being investigated for any battery crime is to hire a top Orange County battery crime defense attorney. The life-long consequences of a criminal conviction can be hard to overcome.

Legal defenses to assault, battery crime charges

There are many types of legal defenses to criminal charges. The most common defenses our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney utilizes for assault or battery crime charges are:

1) You were falsely accused

False accusations are common, especially for assault charges like Penal Code 240 pc, since they don鈥檛 require that the victim suffered any actual injury. That makes it too easy for someone with an agenda or emotional issues to falsify or exaggerate claims.

The credibility of witnesses and any physical evidence available can be key. But the burden of proof is on the Prosecutor who must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

2) Insufficient evidence

3)You acted in self defense or defense of others

California Penal Code allows you to act in self defense or the defense of others. California criminal jury instructions, No. 505 explains how defendants can defend themselves if:

  1. They reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of being harmed;

  2. They reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and

  3. They used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

3) You did not willfully act

Prosecutors must prove you 鈥渨illfully鈥 acted with intent to use force against the victim. If your act was accidental, even during an angry argument, you are not guilty.

4) You did not have the ability to inflict force or violence on the victim

Assault charges like 240 pc require that you have the ability to inflict force or violence on an alleged victim. If somehow you don鈥檛 have that ability, then you鈥檙e not guilty of assault.

Most assault cases are resolved without a trial

Our Los Angeles assault lawyers usually obtain the best outcome without going to trial. Trials can publicly expose personal issues for the public record and be more costly than a skillfully negotiated dismissal or favorable plea deal.

But when a District Attorney is being unreasonable, there are instances where our experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney may advise you that fighting the case in a trial can be in your best interest.

Assault | Penal Code 240 pc

California Penal Code 240 pc defines the misdemeanor crime of assault, also referred to as 鈥渟imple assault鈥. No one needs to actually have suffered any injury, pain or even been touched to be guilty of assault.

The statute reads:

240 pc: An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.

In order to convict a defendant of 240 pc, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant willfully (not accidentally) did some act that was likely to cause the use of force against another person.

  2. The defendant was aware of facts when they acted that would cause a reasonable person to realize that their act would directly and probably result in the application of force on another person; and

  3. The defendant had the ability to use force on the other person when they acted.

EXAMPLES:

  • At a bar, an intoxicated man gets into an argument and starts throwing punches at a patron. Due to his drunken state none of the punches actually connect. Even though he never actually touches the other person, he can be charged with assault.

  • An angry mental health patient is restrained at a hospital and threatens to punch you. Because he is restrained, he doesn鈥檛 have the present ability to use force when he threatened. So he could not be charged with 240 pc.

PENALTIES FOR MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT | 240 pc

  • Up to 6 months in county jail

  • A fine of up to $1,000

  • Misdemeanor 鈥渟ummary鈥 probation.

If the assault victim is a protected law enforcement officer or emergency personnel, and you knew, or reasonably should have known, they were engaged in the performance of their duties, the penalties may be increased to:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail

  • A fine of up to $2,000

Protected law enforcement officers and emergency personnel include:

  • Police, peace officer, parking control officer or traffic officer.

  • Firefighter or search and rescue member.

  • Paramedic or emergency medical technician.

  • Lifeguard or process server.

  • Animal control officer or code enforcement officer.

  • Doctor or nurse providing emergency medical care.

Battery | 242 pc

California Penal Code 242 pc defines the misdemeanor crime of battery, also referred to as 鈥渟imple battery鈥. While the word 鈥渂attery鈥 conjures up images of serious beatings, you can be charged with battery even if you didn鈥檛 cause any injury or even pain.

The statute reads:

242 pc: A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

In order to convict a defendant of 240 pc, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant willfully (not accidentally) did some act that was likely to cause the use of force against another person.

  2. The defendant was aware of facts when they acted that would cause a reasonable person to realize that their act would directly and probably result in the application of force on another person; and

  3. The defendant had the ability to use force on the other person when they acted.

EXAMPLES:

  • A man at a concert throws his beer bottle in the air and it hits another person in the head injuring him. He can be charged with 242 pc battery. If the bottle causes serious injury he could be charged with aggravated battery 243(d) pc.

  • Two men mutually decide to 鈥渟tep outside鈥 to have a fight. Neither man can be charged with battery as they both consented.

PENALTIES FOR MISDEMEANOR BATTERY | 242 pc

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.

  • A fine of up to $2,000.

  • and/or misdemeanor 鈥渟ummary鈥 probation.

Aggravated battery | 243(d) pc

California Penal Code 243(d) pc defines 鈥渁ggravated battery鈥 as battery causing serious bodily injury. This 鈥渨obbler鈥 offense can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor crime depending on the severity of injuries, criminal history and circumstances of the crime.

The statute reads:

243(d) pc: When a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted on the person, the battery is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.

California criminal jury instructions No. 925 explains that to be found guilty of 243(d) pc the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant willfully (not accidentally) touches another person in a harmful or offensive way. The touching can be done directly, or by causing an object or someone else to touch the person.

  2. The person touched suffered a 鈥渟erious bodily injury鈥 as a result of the force used.

  3. AND the defendant did not act in self defense, defense of someone else or while reasonably disciplining a child.

A 鈥渟erious bodily injury鈥 is defined as a 鈥渟erious impairment of a physical condition鈥. While it is ultimately up to a jury to decide what constitutes a serious bodily injury, commonly accepted examples include:

  • Loss of consciousness or concussion.

  • Bone fracture.

  • Protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ.

  • A wound requiring extensive suturing.

  • Any serious disfigurement.

EXAMPLES:

  • An angry woman slaps another woman hard at a bar in a heated argument. The woman has facial redness and bruising, but is otherwise ok. This would not likely be charged as aggravated battery.

  • However if the woman victim falls off her bar stool and hits her head on the floor causing an cut injury requiring stitches, that would likely be charged as battery causing serious bodily injury.

PENALTIES FOR MISDEMEANOR AGGRAVATED BATTERY | 243(d) pc

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.

  • A fine of up to $1,000.

  • and/or misdemeanor 鈥渟ummary鈥 probation.

PENALTIES FOR FELONY AGGRAVATED BATTERY | 243(d) pc

  • 2 to 4 years in state prison.

  • Formal felony probation, and/or

  • A fine of up to $10,000.

  • An additional 3-6 years in prison if you caused the victim 鈥済reat bodily injury鈥 or a significant physical injury (12022.7 pc great bodily injury enhancement).

  • Count as a strike under the Three Strikes Law if involved great bodily injury.

  • Potential loss of a professional license (such as attorney license to practice).

Assault with a deadly weapon | 245(a)(1) pc

California Penal Code 245(a)(1) pc defines unlawful assault with a deadly weapon. This 鈥渨obbler鈥 offense can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor crime depending on the severity of injuries, criminal history and circumstances of the assault.

The statute reads:

245(a)(1) pc: Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

To be found guilty of 245(a)(1) pc the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant willfully (not accidentally) either:

    • Acted with a non-firearm deadly weapon that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person, OR

    • The defendant did an act that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person, and the force used was likely to produce great bodily injury.

  2. The defendant was aware of facts when they acted that would cause a reasonable person to realize that their act would directly and probably result in the application of force on another person; AND

  3. The defendant had the present ability to use force on the other person when they acted; AND

  4. The defendant did not act in self defense or defense of someone else.

A 鈥渄eadly weapon鈥 is defined as defined as any object, weapon, or instrument which is used in such a manner at to make it capable of producing or likely to produce great bodily injury or death. Some examples can include: a bottle, a pen used to stab, a slingshot, a hammer, a trained attack pit bull, or an automobile used to run someone down.

EXAMPLES:

  • An angry woman attempts to run over someone flipping her off on the street with her car. The person manages to dodge the vehicle and escape uninjured. The woman can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon even though there is no contact.

  • A man gets in a heated argument at a bar and punches a man in the face. This would generally not be classified as assault with a deadly weapon unless the man was a professional fighter that could seriously injure with his hands.

MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON PENALTIES | 245(a)(1) pc

  • Up to 1 year in jail,

  • Significant court fines,

  • Restitution to the victim, and

  • Loss of the weapon.

FELONY ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON PENALTIES | 245(a)(1) pc

  • 2 to 4 years in state prison and/or

  • A fine of up to $10,000.

  • Victim restitution.

  • Up to an additional 5 years in prison and designation as a 鈥渟trike鈥 if the victim was a peace officer.

  • Up to 12 years in prison if a deadly firearm was used.

Assault & battery victim civil lawsuit for damages

Battery victims have the right under U.S. law to sue their attacker for compensation for damages such as medical costs, lost salary, and pain and suffering. This right can even exist when the attacker hasn鈥檛 been convicted of a crime.

In civil damages claims, the victim merely has to prove the battery occurred by a 鈥減reponderance of the evidence鈥. This more forgiving standard means you have to show evidence that 鈥渕ore likely than not鈥 the attacker committed the battery to be able to sue for damages.

You can contact our personal injury attorneys for more information and a free consultation about your rights.


Call 844 325-1444 to get help now

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If you are looking to hire an assault defense lawyer, we invite you to call for a Free confidential consultation 7 days a week.


Office locations

LOS ANGELES
At Metropolitan Court
1933 S Broadway #1100
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 212-5002
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ORANGE COUNTY
Near Harbor Justice Center
23 Corporate Plaza Dr, Suite 150
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 750-25002
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SANTA MONICA
Across from Santa Monica Pier
1541 Ocean Ave, Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(424) 340-7220
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Service Area:

We represent clients throughout southern California from our Los Angeles and Orange County offices, including:

Los Angeles County: Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Buena Park, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo, Encino, Glendale, Hollywood, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, Van Nuys, Venice, Ventura, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills.

路  路  路

Orange County: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.


Written by Tsion Chudnovsky, JD, Robert Weinberg, JD and Sherry Cross, JD.

Last updated 9.1.19