Los Angeles Assault Lawyer
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOURSELF IF YOU HAVE AN ASSAULT CASE PENDING IN ONE OF THE LOS ANGELES COURTHOUSES?
Obviously assault is not the crime of the century, however, if you want to keep your record clean, then there are a number of different things that can be done to help you do just that. There are diversionary programs and other alternative sentences that can be negotiated on your behalf by a seasoned attorney. What I like to do with potential client is sit down face to face and go over what the realistic options might be for their case. I find that if the client is honest with me and gives me all of the information related to their case, then I can usually give them a pretty good idea of what they are facing and what the likely outcomes could be if the case is handled the right way. This tends to put the client at ease because now they know what they are up against and what they can do to help their situation.
There are a number of things that can be obtained in order to help your attorney help you if you have an assault case pending in one of the Los Angeles courts. Characters letters from people who know you is always something that can be used to show the judge and the prosecutor that you are a good person and should be given a break. Also, if you have a good job and a family the prosecutor and judge will take these facts into consideration and be much more open to giving you a chance to keep your record clean. The circumstances that led up to the subject issue are always something that can be used to assist you in the appropriate case. If the alleged victim is partially to blame for what happened, then obviously that is something we will discuss in determining what the best options are for you. The judge will also look at what if any damage you caused to the alleged victim. Whether they are out an money or injured in anyway. There are so many different factors that bear on how the case will be resolved, your best bet is to come in for a consultation so we can begin the process of getting this matter behind you.
WHAT IS ASSAULT?
In California, unlike other states, we separate assault and battery into two different offenses. Assault is defined in California Penal Code Section 240 as an attempt to commit violent injury against another. What the prosecutor must prove is that a person committed an act that would likely result in the use of force against another, willfully aware that when they acted a reasonable person would believe that this act would result in force being applied to the person, and with the actual ability to apply that force to another. An example of this would be a man, at a bar, throwing their glass at another patron. It does not matter if the glass misses, assault is still found as long as the person committing the act intended to act in a manner that would put a reasonable person in the apprehension of incoming physical force.
ASSAULT – PENAL CODE SECTION 240
In order to successfully convict someone of the crime of assault in Los Angeles County, the prosecutors must be able to prove that a person made an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury against another coupled with the present ability to do so. The California Criminal Jury Instruction (Calcrim) is 915 and it defines simple assault as:
- The defendant did an act that would probably have resulted in the application of force against another person;
- The defendant did that act intentionally or willfully;
- When the defendant acted they realized that their act would lead to the application of force against another person; and
- When the defendant acted, he or she had the present ability to apply force towards another person.
As you can see from the above definition, in order to be convicted of assault, you do not actually have to make contact or cause an injury to another person. For example, you could pretend like you were going to punch someone and swing your fist at them and then stop just short of their face. If you did this act intentionally, then you could technically be charged with the crime of assault.
Over the course of the past 25 years I do not see a lot of assault cases filed by the prosecutors. They are usually looking to intervene criminally if someone is actually hurt at the hands of another. However, if they feel that the defendant has engaged in criminal activity and the easiest charge for them to prove is assault, then they can and will file this charge against a person. Since it is a crime, you obviously want to take it seriously and do everything you can to defend yourself.
Because the crime of assault is what I would classify as a low grade misdemeanor, many times I am able to convince the prosecutors to give my clients diversionary sentences which allows them to avoid a criminal conviction and keep their record clean. When it comes down to it, the line between criminal assault and civil assault is not very clear and as far as a criminal charge goes it is a subjective decision on the part of the prosecutor as to whether they want to bring the defendant into the criminal court to face charges.
The dividing line as to when the prosecutors file an assault charge and when they do not is hazy and the line is just as hazy when the prosecutors are deciding whether they actually want a conviction and serious punishment or if they will give the defendant a break and let them off with a very minimal punishment in exchange for the defendant’s promise not to become involved in this type of activity again.