The traffic in Los Angeles can be a nightmare, and can often lead to anger and frustration as everyone rushes to get from one place to another. Oftentimes people will succumb to their frustration and let “road rage” take the better of them. What many people don’t know is that this behavior could result in a criminal conviction. Therefore, it is always a good idea to stay calm and in control of any situation while you are on the road.
Although there is no specific law against road rage, there are several offenses that could be driven by road rage.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
California Penal Code 245(a) makes it a criminal offense for any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm. In this case the instrument used to commit an assault is the vehicle itself. If a person has been found guilty of this offense, or has pleaded guilty to this offense, they will face criminal consequences. For a first time offense, they will face one year in county jail, or two to four years in prison and/or a fine up to ten thousand dollars. The exact sentence will depend on the person’s criminal history and the facts of the case. Oftentimes the deciding factor is the extent of injuries.
Assault is defined by California Penal Code 240 and states that assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. If a person hits another with their vehicle, this could be charged as an assault. A first time offense for assault can result in a possible sentence of imprisonment in county jail for up to six months and/or a fine up to one thousand dollars.
Similar to assault, a battery is defined by California Penal Code 242 as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. A first time offender of the battery statute can face up to six months in county jail and/or a fine up to two thousand dollars. Like with an assault with a deadly weapon, the exact sentence will depend on a variety of factors. If the injuries caused are extensive, the sentence will be on the higher end of the spectrum. Unlike assault, a battery is not only an attempt to injure another, but results in an actual injury.
The act of road rage by itself is not a criminal offense. No statute specifically states road rage. However, the consequences of road rage can result in significant injuries, or even a criminal offense with criminal consequences. If you have been charged with a criminal offense stemming from road rage, there are defenses available to you. Speak to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can learn your options and be prepared for Court!