Aggravated Assault in Los Angeles

Arrested? Contact our criminal defense attorneys!

In California, assault is defined under § 240 of the California Penal Code. There are four basic types of charges in this specific category of crimes against the person: simple assault, battery, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon. To be alleged of the crime of assault, you do not have to have actually caused physical harm. Assault charges can be pressed if there was an attempt and also an ability to carry out a violent injury against another person. Battery is the crime of physical violence against another person. But what makes an assault aggravated? In California, aggravated assault can also be called "assault with a deadly weapon" (ADW). This crime is detailed in California Penal Code § 245(a)(1).

To be charged with ADW, there are three basic factors that must be present:

  • An assault, and
  • A deadly weapon as defined by the statutes, or
  • An assault by some means of force that could potentially have caused serious bodily injury.

Were you arrested and charged with aggravated assault/assault with a deadly weapon? Get in touch with a defense lawyer from our Los Angeles firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

How does the California Penal Code define assault?

According to the California Penal Code § 240, an assault is "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another." A charge of simple assault, with no aggravating factors, can be punished with a maximum $1,000 fine or imprisonment for a maximum six months. As you can see, assault does not have to involve physical harm.

If the assault did involve violent physical actions, this is the crime of battery, as defined in § 242 of the code. Violent threatening coupled with carrying out the threatened action is assault and battery. Aggravated assault, therefore, does not necessarily have to involve serious bodily injury, but rather only the potential for serious bodily injury. Assault charges can be more serious when the assault is committed against certain individuals, such as peace officers, paramedics, code enforcement officers and the like.

What is considered a "deadly weapon" in Los Angeles?

A deadly weapon can an object other than a firearm. In fact, using just about any object that could potentially be harmful to threaten another individual can be charged as assault with a deadly weapon/aggravated assault. The statutes make the distinction between assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon with a weapon other than a firearm.

Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm:

245. (a) (1) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury 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.

Assault with a firearm:

(2) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than six months and not exceeding one year, or by both a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment.

There is a distinction made, but the penalties can be nearly identical. The main difference is that the statutes continue to break down "firearm" into more specific categories such as semiautomatic firearm offenses, machinegun offenses and more. For example, an assault using a certified assault weapon can be punished by imprisonment in state prison for 4, 8 or 12 years. Again, if you have been arrested for aggravated assault, weather your case involved the use of a firearm or some other type of "deadly weapon," we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Serious charges deserve the most skilled defense, so take the firm step and contact Okabe & Haushalter today!

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