Author: Mariya Melkonyan | Published: September 12, 2022 | Category: Federal Crime

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 battery, 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 in California. 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. Contact aggravated assault defense lawyer Mariya Melkonyan today.

Defense Strategies Used in Aggravated Battery Cases

The type of defense strategy for aggravated battery in California 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 the 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.

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

Other FAQs About Aggravated Assault Charges in California

Can I Be Charged With Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon if I Brandish a Weapon?

Displaying a weapon in a dangerous or frightening manner, or “brandishing,” is an additional offense that can be added to an assault charge.

If someone brandishes a weapon and threatens to use it on another person, for instance, they could be prosecuted with simple assault. A person may be guilty of aggravated assault if they display a weapon in a threatening or frightening manner.

If the victim wasn’t hurt, could I still be charged with aggravated assault?

If the prosecution can show that the defendant intended to commit an assault and that the victim had a reasonable fear of impending danger, then a conviction for aggravated assault is possible in California even if no physical harm was done.

In California, would I be charged with both assault and battery?

Yes, you can be charged with both assault and battery in California. Assault means making a threat or trying to hurt someone, while battery means actually touching or hurting someone.

If I was found guilty of aggravated assault in California, can my case be expunged?

It depends on the case and California’s expungement regulations. If you’ve served your term for a felony, you may be eligible for expungement.

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 focuses on aggressive criminal defense, and our team is committed 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. Also, as a former Deputy District Attorney, Mariya Melkonyan has a deep understanding of how prosecutors work and can use this knowledge to help you.

If you’re looking for help on how to file assault charges in California specifically, then Contact the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan today to schedule a free consultation today. For help with expunging your case, contact our office today and learn more about your options.

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