Articles Posted in Legal Definitions

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.

Our Southern California law firm has represented many clients who have been charged with California theft offenses. California theft offenses are defined and charged under California Penal Code 484 through 490.

California Penal Code 484 (PC 484) defines what acts constitute theft. Penal Code 484 is quite lengthy and describes many different forms of theft. However, it first defines theft as an offense committed by those who “steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another”. Not only is this the most common definition of theft, it is also the one our knowledgeable California Defense attorneys represent most often.

The California Penal Code 486 divides all theft offenses into two degrees; petty theft and grand theft. California Penal Code 487, through several sections, defines what acts constitute grand theft. A theft will generally be classified as Grand Theft when the value of merchandise stolen is over $400. Most Grand Thefts will be charged as felonies and consequently punished at a harsher degree.

A plea bargain is essentially a compromise on the terms of a case settle a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, and his client. A plea bargain is a common term used in the courts in referring to a negotiation about the specific terms of a case settlement. An example of a favorable plea bargain is a reduction to a misdemeanor when the client has been charged with a felony. The benefit is substantially lowering the potential consequences to the client.

The potential of long-term incarceration is much greater in a felony case, and much smaller in a misdemeanor case. The effect of this plea bargain is that it protects the client from the harsh penalties associated with felony charges.

Another example of effective plea bargaining is when a defense lawyer persuades the prosecutor to reduce the charge. Under the right circumstances, it is possible to reduce a petty theft charge to a trespass charge. The benefit to the client in this plea bargain, is that the potential penalties including jail time are substantially reduced, and most likely eliminated. Further, a trespass charge is a much more favorable charge on one’s record, than the appearance of a theft offense which carries a much more negative connotation.