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 in California – Laws & Penalties
Assault with a deadly weapon, (not a firearm, see below) is a felony 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 assault with a deadly weapon, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and 4 months in 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.
Penalties will be increased if you commit an assault against a:
- police officer
- public safety officer or firefighter
- prison guard
- government official
- highway worker
- bus driver, cab driver or transit operator
- many other special cases and enhancements
Please contact us for details on other special cases and penalty enhancements you may be charged with.