Under the California penal code, there are a variety and range of assault, assault and battery, and related laws and enhancements. Charges range from misdemeanor simple assault to felony assault and battery.

Simple Assault in California – Laws & Penalties

Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge under California law. It is the least serious assault-related charge.

The definition of simple assault is an “unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another“.

You do not need to make any physical contact with another person or cause any injury to be charged and convicted with simple assault.

Penalties for Simple Assault in California

If you are convicted of misdemeanor simple assault, you could face up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail, under California Law.

 

Simple Assault – California Penal Code Section 240-241

Simple Battery in California– Laws & Penalties

Simple battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, a determination that is made by the judge.

It is defined as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person.

If you are convicted of simple battery, you could face up to $2,000 in fines and 6 months in jail, under California Law.

Simple Battery California Penal Code Section 242-243 

Assault with a Deadly Weapon / Assault with Force in California – Laws & Penalties

Assault with a deadly weapon, (245(a)(1) not a firearm (see below) is a felony or misdemeanor (“wobbler”) under California law.

It is defined as an assault in which you use any “deadly weapon” other than a firearm in a manner likely to produce great bodily harm.

Deadly weapon is deliberately not defined and can be interpreted as broadly as possible. A deadly weapon could be a blunt instrument like a bat or a tire iron, a blade instrument like a knife, or even a moving vehicle if it is alleged you deliberately attempt to hit a person with your car.

If you are convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and up to 4 years in state prison, under California Law. If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is 1 year in county jail.

Assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury under CA Penal code 245(a)(4) is also generally felony under California law, but could be a misdemeanor.

It is defined as an assault “by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury”, which is again, highly subjective.

If you are convicted of assault with force 10,000 in fines and up to 4 years in state prison, under California Law.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon (not a firearm) California Penal Code Section 245

Assault with a Firearm in California – Laws & Penalties

Assault with a firearm is similar to California’s assault with a deadly weapon offense, with one significant exception: it does not have to be committed “in a manner likely to produce bodily harm”.

Just having a firearm or gun on your person or in your possession during the commission of any assault is enough to bring a felony charge of assault with a firearm.

If you are convicted of assault with a firearm, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and 4 months in prison, under California Law.

Assault with a Firearm: California Penal Code Section 244

Note: California has a separate and distinct law for Assault with a Stun Gun (taser).

California Assault and Battery Enhancements and Aggregating Factors

All assault offenses have enhancements, exceptions, and aggravating factors the can increase penalties. These factors can be where the incident took place, such as on the grounds of a school, in a hospital or prison, or who the act was committed against.

Under 243(d) battery causing serious injury in a felon with up to 4 years in state prison as the penalty.

Under 243(b), penalties for battery will be increased if you commit an assault against a:

  • police officer or peace officer
  • public safety officer or firefighter
  • emergency medical technician
  • teacher
  • prison guard
  • government official
  • highway worker
  • bus driver, cab driver or transit operator
  • lifeguard
  • many other special cases and enhancements

Please contact us for details on other special cases and penalty enhancements you may be charged with.