Articles Posted in Assault

When you have been arrested and charged with a crime in San Diego, that does not mean you are guilty of unlawful activity. It merely means that you have been suspected of violating a California law, and will be tried before a Judge in a Court of law to determine whether you are actually guilty or not.

A person will only be convicted once the government has proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person being charged did in fact commit the crime. Once the person has been tried, and found guilty, a sentence will be imposed.

Sentencing is not a black and white standard. Not all crimes deserve the same punishment and therefore, the legislative provides a range of possible sentences. For example, let’s consider an assault charge by comparing two different scenarios.

In many criminal cases, the person being charged has not been formally arrested and taken into custody. Oftentimes a Los Angeles police officer is not even the one that observes the law being violated; it is a private security guard or someone similar.

If there is an altercation, or an incident that involves unlawful behavior, many times a police officer is not on site. In those situations, a private security guard or officer is authorized to stop the person committing the alleged crime and question them. Based on the statements of the security guard, officers who then arrive on the scene may cite the person asking them to appear in court, and never have them formally arrested.

Let’s consider an example. David is accused of shoplifting at Macy’s by private security guards working at the department store. They alleged that David stole several items of clothing and detain him for questioning. The officers base their accusations on surveillance tapes and experience with behavior of someone who has taken items in the past. Los Angeles police officers arrive at the scene and listen to the statements made by Macy’s private security. Based on these statements, they write up a report and cite David with a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear gives him the date and time to appear before a Criminal Judge in Los Angeles County. The police officers do not take David into custody, and they do not take him to the police station for formal booking procedures. This is referred to as a Cite In case, because there was no formal arrest.

When a person has been charged with a criminal offense, their criminal background will play a big role in the overall outcome of the case.

If the person does have a criminal record, the Court will look to see if the person was on probation at the time the current crime was committed. If the person was on probation, then there will be an additional charge for a probation violation. The Court takes probation violations very seriously and it could add a significantly harsher penalty to the final sentence if the person is found guilty and is convicted of the most recent crime.

If the person is not on probation, but has a prior criminal history, it could still lead the Court to impose a harsher sentence. The potential sentence for each criminal offense is outlined as a range in the statute. Each statute will establish a minimum fine and a maximum fine along with a minimum and maximum jail sentence. Where the final sentence will fall depends on the person’s past criminal history and the facts of the case.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, the San Diego City Attorney’s office declared that Los Angeles Laker player Kobe Bryant would not be charged with assault arising from an incident that occurred last August.

Alleged victim, Thomas Hagos, 20, asserted that Bryant assaulted him while both were attending church in the upscale neighborhood of Carmel Valley. California Penal Code §240 makes it unlawful for any person to make an unlawful attempt, couple with present ability, to commit violent injury to another.

Hagos claimed that Bryant had aggressively grabbed his arm accusing the 20 year old of having tried to take his picture. Hagos was taken to the hospital with a minor wrist sprain.

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.

Many of our clients ask what the difference is between general crimes and domestic violence crimes. For example, why a case will be an assault, and why it in certain situations it will be a domestic violence charge. The courts take domestic violence charges very seriously because the injury or harm is coming from a person that they believe is someone they are close to, they trust, and in certain situations are vulnerable and intimate with.

When a corporal injury is caused against a person and it is deemed as domestic violence, it will be charged under California Penal Code §273.5. Under the relevant code section, there is a list of certain relationships that will determine whether a charge will be filed under domestic violence or otherwise.

The first is that the person being charged and the person injured are married. If your husband, or your wife is the one that causes injury, then it will be domestic violence. It can also be a former spouse, someone from whom you are currently separated, or who you have been divorced from.

Self defense is a defense that may be applicable in certain Southern California assault cases. Whether the defense will apply depends on the specific facts of the case. If a knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense attorney is able to argue self defense successfully, then the case may be completely dismissed.

The evaluation of whether self defense will be influential will depend on certain factors that must be met in an assault. If all the elements are not met, then self defense will not apply and the case will go.

It is the prosecutor’s job to demonstrate to the Court that the person charged is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In an assault case, they must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be found guilty and charged. They will do this by presenting evidence to the Judge and in certain cases, the jury. Evidence may include an officer’s report, witness testimony, photographs and any other evidence that was gathered from the scene.

Self Defense is a defense that may be applicable in certain Los Angeles criminal cases. If a successful self defense assertion can be made, then it provides a complete defense and the case may be dismissed.

In order for self defense to be an appropriate defense, several elements must be met. First and foremost, you must believe that you are in imminent danger. The standard that is used, is that of the reasonable person. The Court will look to determine if a reasonable person in your situation would feel that they were in imminent danger.

For example, let’s say that Dan sends Victor an email saying ” I hate you, I am going to kill you”. Victor then takes his gun, goes over to Dan and shoots him. Victor does not have a self defense argument. When Dan sent the email, he was not in the same room as Victor, and Victor had no reason to believe that his life was in imminent danger. The reasonable person in Victor’s situation would not have believe there was any immediate harm to his well being and therefore, the first element of self defense would not be met.

A California assault charge is defined in the California Penal Code under sections 240 and 241.

Assault is defined under section 240 as an “unlawful attempt, coupled with present ability, to commit a violent injury to the person of another”. Translated into simple terms, it means that if someone attempts to and has a capability of causing violent injury to a person, they may be charged with assault.

The potential penalties for an assault charge fall along a range depending on the specific facts of your case. The sentence will also depend on who was assaulted; a civilian, an officer, school personnel, as well as where the assault took place. Based on these factors the penalty may include a fine up to a thousand ($1,000) dollars and/or up to six months in county jail. The fine may be up to $2,000 when the assault is committed by or upon a peace officer, firefighter, medical technician, nurse, doctor, lifeguard, process server, animal control officer, or traffic officer in the course of his or her duties.

Many people mistakenly assume that an charges for assault and battery go hand in hand. While it is true that many offenses involving assault may also involve battery, the two are not always found together. Assault is a threat of bodily harm that results in fear of bodily harm in the victim. Battery is when actual physical contact results.

Lets say that Person A says to Person B; ” I am going to find you and kill you”. If this causes a reasonable fear in Person B that Person A was actually going to find them and kill them, then there is a case for assault. It is not necessary that Person A actually find Person B and kill them, just the fact that they have threatened to do so. It is also important to note that there must be a reasonable fear that the threat will actually be carried out. If your friend jokingly says to you that they are going to “kill you” and you know they are joking and have no intention in carrying out their words, there is no assault.

Now lets say that Person A actually finds Person B and attempts to kill them but only physically injures them. Person A may be charged with no only assault, but also battery. If Person A never threatened Person B, but found them and attempted to kill them resulting in physical injuries, then Person A may only be charged with battery but not assault.

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