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.