Assault and battery may be two crimes commonly confused with one another, but even those who learn the distinctions under California state law often have a hard time understanding what makes an assault become aggravated. After all, if battery is the use of force, it makes sense that aggravated battery is the use of force resulting in great bodily injury, but when assault is the attempted use of force, what is considered an aggravated assault?
So What is Aggravated Assault?
Assault is charged when someone makes an unlawful attempt to touch or harm another person. Aggravated assault, covered in the California state penal code section 245 (PC), occurs when someone clearly intended to cause someone else serious bodily injury with no regard for the victim’s life, they committed the criminal act of aggravated assault.
Assault with a deadly weapon, a firearm or caustic chemicals are considered forms of aggravated assault. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why this crime is so serious.
For example, if you throw a punch at someone and miss, you are guilty of regular assault. On the other hand, if you tried to push someone from the roof of a skyscraper and they moved at last minute, you could be charged with aggravated assault. In many cases, the line between assault and aggravated assault is very fine and your defense attorney can help ensure the crime is charged as a simple assault rather than aggravated.
Penalties for 245 (PC)
If caustic chemicals were used in the aggravated assault case, then the charge will always be a felony. Otherwise the crime may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, it is publishable by up to one year in county jail. If is is charged as a felony, the crime can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison.
When a deadly weapon, firearm or caustic chemicals were used, the crime counts as a strike on your criminal record, but otherwise it does not. Vehicles can not only count as a deadly weapon, but using a vehicle as a weapon in an assault can result in lifetime revocation of your driving privileges if you are convicted.
Depending on the specifics of your case, your criminal defense attorney can help negotiate a plea deal to reduce the charges against you or help you fight the charges entirely if you were falsely accused or if you acted in self defense. Remember that what you say can be used against you though, so do not speak to police until you contact a lawyer who can advise you on the proper criminal defense strategy for your specific case.
If you have been charged with aggravated assault, please call (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
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