Simple Assault in Martinez
It is a mistake to believe that a misdemeanor assault charge should not be taken as seriously as a felony charge. A conviction of simple assault in Martinez could still result in a period of incarceration and substantial fines.
If you have been accused of threatening or attempting to cause another person harm, you should not hesitate to seek legal guidance. A dedicated defense attorney could review the facts of your case and help you build a strong defense against the allegations you are facing.
Elements of a Simple Assault Charge
Simple assault is codified under California Penal Code Section 240 and involves intentionally and willfully applying force to someone or placing him or her in fear of unwanted physical contact. The key factor in these cases is that simple assault is always charged as a misdemeanor in Martinez. Therefore, it lacks aggravating factors, such as the presence of a deadly weapon, that would elevate the crime to a felony.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault
The penalties for a simple assault conviction are six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000.00, or a combination of both. A person can also likely face additional penalties such as administrative fees, victim restitution, or counseling. It should be noted, however, that one penalty cannot replace another. For instance, paying a fine will not necessarily get a person out of jail time but an attorney can negotiate alternatives that prevent time in jail or lead to a dismissal. An experienced attorney in the area could further explain the implications of a simple assault conviction and the various options for resolution, trial, or dismissal.
While a misdemeanor charge is certainly less severe than a felony charge, it should by no means be taken lightly. A conviction of a misdemeanor assault would result in a criminal record which could be accessed by prospective employers and landlords. This could make it difficult for a person to obtain employment and housing.
Furthermore, any assault charge has social implications attached. Someone accused of attempting or threatening to commit harm to another person could see his or her reputation tarnished, which can be difficult to undo, even with an innocent verdict.
Litigation Process for Simple Assault
People being charged with simple assault in Contra Costa County will likely have their case heard in the superior court in Martinez. These cases are generally jury trials consisting of 12 jurors. In misdemeanor cases, parties can agree to less than 12 jurors.
A district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury each element of the charge, provided there are no other charges as well. If there are additional charges, the DA will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for every element of each additional charge.
For a verdict or guilty or not guilty to be reached, the jury needs to all reach a unanimous agreement the outcome of the case. If the jurors cannot unanimously agree, the jury will be considered a hung jury resulting in a mistrial and the defendant will not be convicted. It is the role of the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant’s attorney can point to reasonable doubts that exist within the case by finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments or putting on an affirmative defense like self-defense.
A Martinez Attorney Could Defend Against Simple Assault Charges
If you were accused of committing simple assault in Martinez, you should act fast to defend your reputation and your freedom. A misdemeanor offense may result in jail time and fines and a criminal record that could have implications on your future prospects.
Therefore, you should enlist the services of an accomplished defense attorney from the area to represent you. If you wish to learn more about what an experienced lawyer could do for you, call our office today. Your first consultation is always free.