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Under California law, Penal Code § 240, an assault is defined as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. Simple assault is a misdemeanor in California.

To prove that someone is guilty of assault, the People must prove:

The defendant did an act that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person; the defendant did that act willfully; when the defendant acted, he or she was aware of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that his or her act by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone; when the defendant acted, he or she had the present ability to apply force to a person; and the defendant did not act in self-defense or in the defense of someone else.

The punishment for assault, according to Penal Code § 241, is a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both the fine and imprisonment. Punishments for assault can vary depending on whom the assault was committed against and where the assault occurred. When an assault is committed against a teacher, peace officer, firefighter, or occurs in a public place such as a school or park, or on public transportation, like a bus or train, the penalties can be substantially more severe if convicted.

Assault and battery although often used together, are two separate, different crimes. Assault is an attempt to injure an individual. Battery, however, under Penal Code § 242, is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. Battery requires the actual use of unlawful force.

If you are under investigation for assault or have been arrested, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC can help. A skilled attorney will be ready to speak with you and discuss options and next steps in your matter. Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC offers free initial consultations as well as reasonable fees and financing options to help you get the best defense possible. Our attorneys are available to discuss your specific situation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also have three Bay Area office locations located in San Francisco, Dublin, and Redwood City, California to meet your needs.