Assault and Battery
While most people have heard the phrase “assault and battery,” many people do not know what the terms actually mean. In California, assault and battery are distinct crimes, and a conviction for either crime can result in fines and may dramatically affect your liberties. If you are currently charged with assault or battery, it is vital to retain a Riverside County assault defense lawyer to assist you in building a strong defense. Shaffer T. Cormell is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with more than two decades of experience defending people charged with assault and battery in the California criminal courts. Mr. Cormell can gather facts and evidence in support of your defense. He helps people charged with assault and battery in Blythe, Banning, Riverside, Murrieta, Indio, Palm Springs, Coachella, Joshua Tree, Hemet, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Barstow, Brawley, El Centro, Winterhaven, and other cities throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties.Assault and Battery as Defined by California Law
While assault and battery are related, they are separate crimes under California law. The crime of assault is an attempt to use force or violence against someone else. To prove that a person committed assault, the prosecuting attorney must show that the person willfully acted in a way that was likely to result in the application of force against another person, and at the time that the act was committed, the actor was capable of actually applying force. The prosecution must also show that the actor was aware that his or her actions would reasonably place the victim in fear of forceful touching.
Battery occurs when a person takes an additional step and actually uses force or violence against another person. The crime of battery does not require that the actor inflict actual harm upon his or her victim, however. Instead, to convict a person of battery, the State must show that the person willfully touched his or her victim in a harmful or offensive manner. As a result, a person may be charged and convicted of battery even if the victim does not suffer injuries. An assault defense attorney in Riverside County can explain these complexities further as needed.Defenses to Charges of Assault or Battery
If you are charged with assault or battery, there are several defenses that you can potentially raise to try to avoid a conviction. In some cases, you may be able to prevent a conviction by showing that your acts were not intentional, since both assault and battery require proof that the person charged with the crime acted willfully. One of the most common defenses to assault and battery is self-defense. To prove that you were acting in self-defense, you must show that you reasonably believed that you were in danger of suffering an injury or an unlawful touching, and the immediate use of force was essential for your defense. You must also show that you did not use any more force than was reasonably necessary. It is important to note, however, that threatening words alone are not sufficient to justify an assault or battery. If you are charged with assault or battery, a skilled Riverside County assault defense attorney can fully explain which defenses may be available for the charges that you face.Potential Penalties for an Assault or Battery Conviction
Assault and battery are both “wobbler” crimes, which means that they may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and the specific crime alleged. The penalties imposed for assault and battery depend on the nature of the exact crime committed. If a person is convicted of misdemeanor assault or battery, he or she may be sentenced to probation or up to six months of imprisonment and may be required to pay fines. If the assault or battery was committed against a person in a certain group, such as a peace officer, the penalties increase.Consult an Experienced Attorney Regarding Your Assault or Battery Charge
Assault and battery are two of the most commonly charged crimes in California, and a conviction for either crime may result in fines and imprisonment. It is in your best interest to consult an experienced assault defense lawyer in Riverside County regarding your case and your available defenses. Serving people throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties, Shaffer T. Cormell will work tirelessly to help you pursue the best possible legal outcome in your situation. He can be reached at (888) 922-5051 or through the online form to schedule a meeting.