Being accused of aggravated assault carries serious baggage in California. You might be facing a misdemeanor or a felony, even if your arrest resulted from a misunderstanding. Either carries penalties that can disrupt your life, so you need a strong defense to get your charges dropped or reduced.

If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault in Folsom, CA, call Walsh Law today to speak with an experienced aggravated assault defense attorney. Reach us at 916-237-8270 or use our contact form.

What is Aggravated Assault in California?

Assault charges can be confusing in California. There are two broad categories of assault: simple and aggravated. Under California law, aggravated assault is more severe than simple assault. If someone intends to inflict major damage on someone else without regard to their life, they can be charged with aggravated assault.

Prosecutors commonly charge aggravated assault under CPC § 245(a)(4), the statute outlining assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. Examples of aggravated assault include threatening someone with a weapon, driving recklessly through a crowded crosswalk, or pushing someone off of a cliff.

An aggravated assault charge is a “wobbler” offense, meaning you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on your situation. It’s important to note the victim doesn’t have to be hurt — the threat of significant injury is enough to warrant a charge.

Elements of an Aggravated Assault Charge

After you’ve been charged with an aggravated assault, Sacramento County prosecutors must prove essential elements of assault.

1. An intention to cause harm

The defendant must show willful intent to cause offensive contact or create the fear of physical violence toward the victim.

2. An ability to cause harm

The defendant must have the capacity or means to act on their violent intent.

3. A reasonable belief in imminent danger

The victim must have a reasonable belief that the defendant’s actions would result in an immediate use of force or violence.

4. A willful violent act

The accused must have acted willfully to be found guilty of aggravated assault.

Charges Related to Aggravated Assault

Other criminal charges in California are similar to aggravated assault, including:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon (CPC § 245(a)(1): assaulting anyone with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm.
  • Assault with a firearm (CPC § 245(a)(2): assaulting anyone with a firearm that isn’t a machine gun, like a handgun, a shotgun, or other semiautomatic weapon.
  • Assault with a machine gun (CPC § 245(a)(3): assaulting anyone with a machine gun, assault weapon, or a .50 BMG rifle.
  • Assault with caustic chemicals (CPC § 244): assaulting anyone with dangerous chemicals, like acid, flammable substance, or corrosives.

It should be noted that any crime that involves the attempt to murder, rob, or sexually assault anyone can be considered aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Your Folsom aggravated assault attorney can explain the details of your charges, and then help you fight to get them reduced or dropped.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault in California

Aggravated assault is a wobbler offense in California. Your actions will determine whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, with drastically different potential sentences if convicted. Your charges will depend on how much of a threat you posed to the alleged victim and whether you made physical contact with them.

A misdemeanor aggravated assault conviction can be punished with up to one year in a county jail and a fine of not more than $1,000. A felony conviction can mean a much steeper incarceration: up to four years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

Collateral Consequences of Aggravated Assault

Incarceration and fines aren’t the only penalties you could face when charged with aggravated assault.

You might face:

  • Community service or probation requirements.
  • Suspension or complete loss of professional licenses.
  • Citizenship or immigration issues.
  • Loss of the right to own firearms.

Defenses for Aggravated Assault in Folsom

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, even if it feels like the whole world is against you. Finding a defense to introduce a reasonable doubt about your charges is crucial to getting your charges dropped or reduced. With Folsom aggravated assault attorney Chris Walsh on your side, you can rest assured he’ll use his understanding of the prosecutor’s tactics to help you craft a defense.

He’ll keep your best interest at heart and work to protect your rights with the strongest defense available. You may consider using a defense like:

You Were Defending Yourself

In California, you are allowed to act to defend yourself. In cases involving violence, that could mean you were trying to protect yourself or a loved one. You will need to show that you had a genuine reason to fear for your safety, and your attorney will use evidence that can persuade a jury you were trying to defend yourself.

You Lacked the Ability to Use Force

If you’ve been accused of aggravated assault, the prosecution has to show you had the capability to use violence against the victim. If your lawyer can prove you did not have the present ability to hurt them, you will have a strong defense. For instance, if you were accused of assault after yelling threats from a distance but without any real violent capabilities, the victim had no true fear of imminent violence.

You Did Not Act Willfully

You could be accused of aggravated assault after you caused someone to feel threatened, but the prosecution must show you intentionally caused that fear. If your attorney can prove you weren’t intending to threaten the victim, you can present that as a defense.

You’re Facing False Allegations

It might seem underhanded, but some people make false accusations against others for various reasons. You and your attorney will need to find proof that can exonerate you of these allegations. For instance, you could have an alibi putting you in an entirely different location, or you might have footage showing the violence you were accused of never really happened.

Aggravated Assault Charge FAQs

Can My Aggravated Assault Conviction be Expunged?

The possibility of expunging your aggravated assault conviction depends on your circumstances and the state’s expungement regulations. However, if you’ve served your sentence for a felony, you could be eligible for expungement.

If the Victim Wasn’t Hurt, Will I Still Be Charged With Aggravated Assault?

Unfortunately, yes. The prosecution merely needs to argue that the victim had a reasonable fear of getting hurt and that you intended to assault them, you might be charged or convicted of aggravated assault.

Can a Victim Drop Aggravated Assault Charges Before a Trial?

Once you’ve been charged with aggravated assault, the case is out of the victim’s hands. The police will hand their findings to the prosecutor, who will ultimately decide whether the charges are fitting or not. A victim’s cooperation can affect the case, which could result in an acquittal or reduction in charges.

Get Help from a Folsom Aggravated Assault Lawyer

Aggravated assault charges and convictions can have lifelong impacts. At Walsh Law, our Folsom aggravated assault defense attorneys understand what you’re facing and what’s at stake. We know what it will take to get your charges dropped or reduced. We’re ready to help you clear your name. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can get started on your defense. We can maximize the odds of a positive outcome by getting started quicker.

Call 916-237-8270 or use our secure contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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