Assault charges in California encompass a range of offenses, each with its own specific elements and penalties. Understanding the types of assault is vital if you or a loved one faces these charges.
Legal consequences for an assault conviction vary by factors such as severity and previous criminal record.
Often referred to as “misdemeanor assault,” simple assault is the least serious assault charge. It generally involves attempting to injure another person.
In California, simple assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor. It can result in penalties such as fines, probation and possible jail time for up to six months. Assaulting an on-duty public official such as a police officer is a more serious crime that carries elevated penalties.
Aggravated assault is a more serious form of assault that involves the intent to cause severe harm or injury. Penalties can be severe, potentially resulting in a felony conviction with substantial fines and a lengthy prison sentence.
Assault with a deadly weapon
This category involves the use of a weapon or instrument capable of causing serious injury or death. The state can charge this offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Penalties for a felony conviction may include substantial fines and state prison time.
This specific type of assault involves non-consensual sexual contact or acts. Penalties for sexual assault can include prison time, mandatory registration as a sex offender and fines.
Assault with intent to commit a felony
Assault with the intent to commit another felony, such as robbery or burglary, is a separate crime in California. Conviction for this offense may result in both the penalties for the underlying felony and for the assault.
Violent crime convictions increased by 6% in the state from 2020 to 2021. To discourage assault and other violent crimes, California laws allow longer sentences for conviction in some cases.