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Breaking down assault charges in California

Oct 13, 2023 | Violent Crimes

The Public Policy Institute of California reported that the police arrested over 793,000 people in 2021 for assault charges. California takes assault crimes seriously.

If you or someone you know faces assault charges, you should understand the different degrees and their potential consequences.

Simple assault

Simple assault refers to an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury to someone else. For this charge to apply, there must be willful intent to harm, even if no actual harm occurs. A conviction can lead to fines, probation, community service or jail time, but jail time for simple assault usually does not exceed six months.

Assault with a deadly weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon applies when someone uses a deadly weapon, other than a firearm or applies force likely to cause significant bodily harm. The weapon type and injury extent can affect the penalties. Convictions can result in higher fines and longer jail or prison sentences.

Assault on a public official

California law offers additional protection for public officials. If someone assaults a person in a specific role like police officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians, the penalties increase. A conviction could result in a year in jail, or in more severe cases, prison time.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual contact or activity without actual intercourse. Because of the sensitive nature of this charge, penalties can be severe. They can range from fines to extended prison sentences, depending on the act’s circumstances and severity.

California classifies assault charges in a structured system. The penalties for these crimes can vary greatly, based on the assault’s nature and the surrounding circumstances. If you face an assault charge, you must understand the charge specifics and its possible consequences. It is always essential to be law-aware, but equally important to make choices that ensure safety and respect for everyone. Staying out of situations that could turn violent is the best way to avoid potential legal problems.