What Constitutes Aggravated Assault in California?

If you are facing aggravated assault charges, finding a skilled attorney to represent your case is vital. The right defense attorney can mean the difference between having your charges reduced or the case dismissed or facing severe legal consequences.

As a former Deputy District Attorney for 13 years, Mariya Melkonyan has the know-how and experience to fight for a fair resolution to your case. With many jury trials under her belt, Mariya Melkonyan understands the potential tactics the prosecution may bring to the table and how to counter them to get the best possible outcome.

California defines aggravated assault as assault with a deadly weapon, a firearm, or assault that is likely to cause great bodily injury. Per California Penal Code 245, aggravated assault includes using force or a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury.

In California, great bodily injury (GBI) is a significant or substantial physical injury. If the jury or judge finds that there is GBI, it can significantly impact the severity of your penalties. Depending on the alleged victim, this distinction can add between 3 and 6 years to your possible sentence.

Aggravated Assault Arrests in California

If you have been accused of aggravated assault, you must not incriminate yourself when speaking with others. Engaging with others, such as the alleged victim, witness, or police, without legal counsel can result in more severe charges if the prosecution finds potential evidence against you.

Contact the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan as soon as possible after being charged with aggravated assault. Avoid discussing the incident with anyone other than your lawyer. If the police question you, ask for your right to legal representation before talking.

Refrain from posting about the case on social media and avoid talking to the alleged victim or witnesses. Prosecutors can use any statements you make against you in court.

Defense Strategies Used in Aggravated Assault Cases

The aggravated assault defense strategy your attorney chooses can be instrumental to the outcome of your case. Hiring a knowledgeable attorney like Mariya Melkonyan can determine the best strategy for your case and ensure you have a solid team to guide you through the process.

False Accusation
Proving a false accusation involves showing that the accuser does not have concrete evidence to back up their claims or that their story is inconsistent with other evidence in the case. The defense can try to show that the accuser has a history of making false accusations or that they have a motive to lie about the incident.

Inability to Commit a Violent Injury
Your lawyer may argue that you did not have a weapon or use force during an assault. Alternatively, they can claim that you have a history of mental illness or other conditions that made you unable to commit the alleged assault.

Self-Defense
To assert a self-defense argument, you must show that you reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death and that the force you used was necessary to protect yourself.

Defense of Others
If the assault happened while you were defending others, your lawyer may use that circumstance as a defense. For example, if you assault someone who is attacking a friend or family member or you stop an armed gunman in a public place that could be a good defense strategy. To use this defense you must witness the assault and use proportional force.

Common Mistakes Made in Aggravated Assault Cases

Every detail counts when defending an aggravated assault charge. An inexperienced or careless lawyer can make mistakes that are costly to your defense, including:

  • Failing to investigate the victim’s background

A victim’s prior criminal history may be relevant to show that the victim was more likely to be the aggressor in the altercation.

  • Not interviewing witnesses thoroughly

The defense may neglect to cross-examine witnesses for bias or inconsistencies in their testimony. Witnesses perceived as unreliable by the jury can often swing a verdict in favor of the defense.

  • Alleged weapon used in the assault was not found

In assault cases where a gun or knife was used, but no weapon was found, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to prove that the weapon was a real weapon and not a toy for example. Your crminal defense team needs to make sure to take full advantage of this fact to reduce the charges filed against a defendant.

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault Cases?

Aggravated assault is usually a felony in California and can be a strike offense. Assaults can be filed as misdemeanors, but aggravated assault is usually a felony and can be a strike offense.

The final result of the conviction will depend on the circumstances of the assault, your criminal history, and your attorney’s expertise.

If this is your first offense or you did not use a firearm, you may receive a misdemeanor conviction and the following:

  • Probation
  • Reduced jail sentences (up to one year)
  • $10,000 in fines
  • Ordered to perform community service or take anger management courses

If a firearm was used, the victim was a peace officer or firefighter, or you have a history of violent behavior or felony convictions, you may expect more severe consequences. These include a felony conviction and the following:

  • Between 4 and 12 years in prison
  • $10,000 fine
  • Removal of firearm

If you have multiple felony convictions, a third can result in up to 25 years to life in prison due to the three-strikes law in California.

What Other Related Offenses Are there to Aggravated Assault?

There are a few other violent crimes related to aggravated assault in California. Those are:

  • Battery – PC 242
  • Battery causing serious injury – PC 243d
  • Sexual Battery – PC 243.4

Who Can I Call to Help With My Aggravated Assault Case?

If you have been charged with aggravated assault in California, it is essential to secure experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Our law firm specializes in aggressive criminal defense, and our team is dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome in your case.

With our knowledge of the law, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Furthermore, due to her experience as a Deputy District Attorney, Mariya Melkonyan deeply understands how prosecuting attorneys operate and can use this experience on your behalf.

Contact the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan today to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate this difficult time.

Book A Free Consultation

Fill out the form below to request a call back and a free initial consultation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    During your free initial consultation, your attorney will discuss the facts of your case, getting a clear overview of your situation. Your attorney will then explain the process, letting you know what will be expected of you and the support and services they will offer.

    Your attorney will then guide you on how to proceed and begin collecting potential witness details to support your case and evidence for preservation, proper representation, and preparation. Finally, we will explain our fees, take you through our retainer form, and answer any queries you have.

    To give Mariya a clear view of your case, you must provide them with as many details and as much evidence about your case as possible. This may include documentation, videos, audio files, witness names, time logs on any information related to the case for review. The more details and evidence you can provide, the better case your attorney can build right from the start.

    Some clients are concerned about revealing too much to a lawyer in an initial consultation, but your meetings with an attorney are confidential and protected by client/attorney privilege.

    After your initial consultation, we’ll be able to determine a retainer fee and discuss payment options. In most cases, the retainer feee payments are divided into two parts; the first is typically payable upfront.

    There are various options for paying your retainer fee, including cash, check, or card.

    There is no one-size-fits-all cost for an attorney to defend your criminal case. The fee depends on the charges against you and the details of your specific case. As a rule, open misdemeanor cases tend to be charged at a lower fee than open felony cases. Post-conviction legal services, such as expungement of criminal records, are usually even less expensive.

    The final fee depends on the complexity of your case. During your consultation, the attorney will discuss the fees with you. The more details you can give about your case, the more accurate expectations your attorney can set. Contact Mariya today for a no-obligation case review.