Under California Penal Code § 240 it is illegal to make an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. Assault, unlike battery, does not have to actually result in injury. It merely has to be an ATTEMPT to harm another.
For example, Dan is at a bar. He has one too many drinks and finds himself in a heated argument with Victor. He goes to punch Victor in the face, but Victor ducks and Dan ends up hitting the wall. Dan can be charged with assault, because his intention was to punch Victor, he attempted to do it, and if Victor hadn’t ducked, he would have successfully injured him.
There are available defenses for a person who has been charged with assault. One of the most popular is self defense. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can assess which defense would be strongest for your case. It is necessary to be sure the defense is applicable before a powerful argument is prepared.
Self defense can only be a valid defense when the person claiming the defense was using their actions to protect themselves. Additionally, the amount of force used to protect their own safety, must be equivalent to that of the force used against them.
Lets say for example, Dan is at a bar. Him and Victor get into a heated argument and Victor attempts to hit Dan, and Dan swings back at Victor. Dan is then charged with assault. In this situation, Dan has a self defense. He was being attacked so his swinging at his friend was to protect himself. He used the same amount of force that was used against him.
In comparison, lets assume the same facts as the last situation, except this time instead of swinging at Victor, Dan takes out his handgun and shoots at him. Dan will not be able to assert self defense in this case. Although he was acting to protect himself, he did not use a reasonable amount of force to do so. Victor did not use a weapon of any sort, nor was there a threat of him using a gun. Dan’s actions to protect himself using a gun were unreasonable in consideration of the fact that Victor merely went to punch him. Dan will likely be charged with more than an assault.
The self defense is a difficult defense to assert, but when done successfully could result in a complete dismissal of the case. An experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can prepare a powerful argument on your behalf that presents evidence that can help weak the prosecutor’s case. An assault conviction can prevent a person from achieving their education and career goals. If the assault was a result of self defense be sure that the Judge if fully aware of the situation and recognizes a strong defense in your favor.