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Depending on the circumstances, even the most minor of interactions can result in an assault charge. Regardless of how one comes about, a San Leandro assault lawyer may be an important part of your approach to defending against such an accusation.

There are many different types of actions that could lead to an assault charge. Understanding some of the basics about California assault charges may be an important first step in developing your defense, as well as a good place to start a conversation with an experienced criminal attorney.

Varieties of Assault in San Leandro

As with most crimes, there are specific elements the prosecution must prove when charging a person with assault in order to legally obtain a conviction. In most cases, these elements depend heavily on the exact nature of the charges.

Some examples of different types of assaults can include:

An experienced assault attorney in San Leandro could help defendants understand more about the various elements that play into charges related to the above-mentioned examples, as well as other charges that might qualify as assault.

What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

The terms assault and battery can be hard to distinguish since they are often said jointly; however, they are not interchangeable.

Assault is a legal term that, as defined by California Penal Code §240, refers to actions involving the mere threat of harm to another individual. That means someone could face assault charges for threatening harm without ever actually causing harm. No physical contact is needed for an assault to occur.

On the other hand, battery occurs under Cal. Pen. Code §242 when actual physical contact is made with another individual as a result of an intentional action that was without consent. Terms like aggravated assault or aggravated battery typically mean that a dangerous weapon or an elevated level of force was involved in the confrontation that led to the charges.

Reasonable Apprehension of Immediate Harm or Unwanted Contact

The term “reasonable apprehension of immediate harm or unwanted contact” means that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complaining witness in the case was reasonably afraid of immediate harm or unwanted contact. For example, the belief that a person raising his or her fist as if to hit someone could actually carry out the act. If the complaining witness reasonably feared the defendant was intending to cause him or her harm, then that element of the offense could be proven.

If the person actually made contact, then he or she would be charged with a battery, not an assault.

What Must the Prosecution Prove in an Assault Case?

The prosecution has the burden of proof in all criminal cases to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements associated with an Penal Code §240 assault case are as follows:

  • The defendant did something that by its nature could directly and likely result in the application of force to another person.
  • The defendant did the act willfully
  • The defendant was aware of the implications this act would have on the alleged victim.
  • The defendant had the present ability to apply that force.

Often the defendant and their local attorney might argue that the alleged assault was actually an act of self-defense. In these cases, the prosecution also has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was not acting in self-defense.

The prosecution is not required to prove:

  • That the defendant actually touched someone
  • That the defendant actually intended to use force against the other person when they acted
  • That an injury occurred

If the assault is alleged as an aggravated assault like sexual assault, domestic assault, or assault with a deadly weapon, there will be additional elements including the basic elements of assault to prove.

What a San Leandro Assault Attorney Could Do to Help

Individuals facing criminal charges, like assault, have important rights that must be understood and protected at every stage of the legal process involved in defending against these charges. Assault lawyers in San Leandro can be important advocates for defendants’ rights.

By taking a dynamic approach to exploring the options available in building your defense, a skilled attorney could help you understand more about your rights during pending investigations into an alleged assault, as well as the actual charges in a criminal legal proceeding. An experienced attorney knows just how much is at stake when it comes to defending against criminal charges like assaults or aggravated assaults, and as such could work hard to protect your best interests under any circumstances and at all stages of your criminal proceedings.

If you are facing assault charges or worried about an investigation that could result in those charges, call today to find out more about how an experienced San Leandro assault lawyer could work with you and what options may be available in your case.

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