When you are facing assault charges, it is essential to have a reputable attorney on your side. Criminal defense lawyers can help you understand important factors that may affect your case, such as the fact that assault charges do not require proof that any injury was caused.
You can be charged with assault if you do anything that could cause physical harm or unwanted touching to the alleged victim. This means that no personal injury is required. Even if you simply threatened someone while holding a gun, you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Is Assault with a Deadly Weapon a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
California law considers the crime to be a “wobbler.” This term refers to the fact that such a crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Several factors can affect the type of charge the prosecutor files, including the following.
- Any injuries that were actually inflicted, and how serious they were
- The type of object or weapon used during the offense
- The defendant’s criminal history
How Will the Prosecutor Try to Prove Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Prosecutors are required to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt of several elements. The factors that must be proven include the following.
- That you were not acting in defense of another individual or in self-defense
- That you had the present ability at the time of the alleged crime to apply force to the other individual
- That you committed an act with a firearm or deadly weapon that would likely result in the application of force to another individual. Likewise, if you performed an act that would likely result in great bodily injury being applied to another by its nature alone
- That you willingly committed the act
- That when you committed that act, you knew facts that a reasonable person would see as potentially leading to the application of force to another
What Do Some of These Terms Mean?
Navigating the legal system when facing charges of violence or abuse of any kind can be difficult for the average person. A skilled attorney can make the process much easier to understand. Individuals charged with anything from DUI to drug offenses find solace in the counsel of trusted attorneys, and assault and battery cases are no different. One of the first things your attorney will do is to help you understand the legal jargon used in your case, including the following terms.
- Deadly weapon. In California, a deadly weapon can be any type of object that can be used to cause great bodily injury or death or one that is inherently deadly on its own. This could obviously mean weapons such as guns or knives, but prosecutors can also pursue charges of assault with a deadly weapon for items like broken beer bottles in a bar fight or a car if it has been driven toward someone at a high rate of speed.
- Firearms. This includes all types of guns, which means any device with a barrel through which a projectile is discharged by a form of combustion or explosion, meant to be used as a weapon. Some crimes can be more serious. For instance, if the type of firearm is a .50 BMG rifle, or an assault weapon, machine gun, or semiautomatic pistol, the charges and harms escalate.
- Application of force. Simply touching another individual in an offensive or harmful way can fall under this term. The person doesn’t actually need to be physically hurt. According to California law, even slight touching done in an angry or rude way can be enough to warrant assault, even if it does not cause injury or pain of any kind.
- Great bodily injury. This is defined under state law as substantial or significant physical injury, or one that is greater than moderate or minor harm. This means that acts such as a light slap wouldn’t fall under acts of force that could inflict great bodily injury.
- Willingly. This term means that the individual acted on purpose but does not mean that they wanted to hurt someone or break the law. It simply means that the actions committed were not unintentional or accidental.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Assault in California?
In the criminal court system, an accused individual is innocent until the prosecution proves guilt. This applies to assault charges, just as any other, and a criminal defense lawyer is typically the best type of attorney to call if you are facing this battle. Your criminal defense attorney will argue your case based on any number of factors, including the following.
- Lack of intent. Intent means that a person committed an act willfully. If you are facing charges due to harm you inflicted on another person by accident, your lawyer may be able to get your assault charge thrown out of court.
- False accusations. A skilled attorney may be able to get your case dismissed if there is no solid evidence against you, including witness testimony.
- Defense of others or self-defense. In the United States, you have the right to defend yourself if you feel that you are in danger. This basis may be a way to fight your case if the alleged victim of assault was behaving in a way that you found to be threatening.
- Being unable to commit a violent injury. To get a conviction, the prosecution must show the courts that at the time of the incident in question, you not only had intent but that you were able to commit serious bodily harm. An example of this defense would be a situation in which a person had a firearm that was not loaded when an incident occurred. An attorney may create an argument that it was possible for the person to inflict great harm in such a scenario.
How Do I Find a Good Criminal Defense Attorney For Assault Charges?
If you are accused of assault and need an experienced attorney in the Tahoe area, Conor Bell is the lawyer you can trust. With years of experience as a criminal attorney and a background in prosecution, this Truckee local has a reputation for excellence. Visit his website today to get started on your defense and ensure a better future for yourself.