Types and Degrees of Assault in California

California's assault laws can be found in § 240-248 of the California Penal Code. There are four types of assault crimes:

  1. Simple Assault
  2. Battery
  3. Aggravated Battery
  4. Assault with a Deadly Weapon

According to § 240 of the CPC, assault is "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another."

In California, "assault" and "battery" are two different crimes. While assault can be used to describe physical violence as well as threatened violence, battery is always characterized by force or violence.

Assault charges could include six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, while battery charges could include 6 months in jail but a $2,000 fine.

The difference between battery and aggravated battery comes down to classifying the victim's injuries as either "serious bodily injury" or simply "bodily injury." While simple battery could land a person six months in jail, aggravated battery has a maximum jail sentence of one year or four years if charged as a felony offense.

Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony offense in the state of California (§ 245a1). ADW charges are not always characterized by the use of a firearm. Other "deadly weapons" such as knives could also apply. ADW charges could be filed whether or not the firearm was discharged or the victim was injured. All that matters with these charges is that a deadly weapon was used to threaten violence.

Sexual assault is also a crime, commonly referred to as rape, but that particular statute is listed under the California Penal Code's sex offense statute (§ 11164 sexual assault, § 261 rape).

If you have been charged with assault, do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Lessem & Newstat today for a free case evaluation.