San Bernardino Assault and Battery Attorney
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San Bernardino Assault and Battery Attorney
Although many people use the terms with little weight, assault and battery are not offenses that you want to be accused of. These charges are severe in California, and you could be looking at extensive prison time if the court finds you guilty. If you’re dealing with a charge, contact a San Bernardino assault and battery attorney to represent you and take on your case.
At Exum Law Offices, we have experience defending clients in court for a range of criminal offenses, including assault and battery. We can defend you every step of the way and ensure that everyone respects your civil rights through the entire legal process. Having an attorney on your side may be the difference between prison and fresh air.
Exum Law Offices Can Defend Against a Criminal Charge
When you’re fighting a criminal charge in San Bernardino, CA, you’ll want someone with experience backing you up in court. At Exum Law Offices, our lead attorney, Darryl Exum, has over 25 years of experience to draw on when working on your case. He’s defended countless clients against a wide variety of offenses, and he’s willing to fight diligently to protect your civil rights.
Mr. Exum believes that everyone deserves a fair trial and representation. He’s not an attorney who judges his clients, and he doesn’t care if you’re guilty of a crime or not. Mr. Exum can do whatever is in his power to get you a fair deal and secure an ideal outcome!
What Is Assault and Battery?
Although we often use assault and battery together, like peas and carrots or peanut butter and jelly, the two terms have legally distinct definitions in California law. Assault comes up in California Penal Code §240, and the state covers battery in California Penal Code §242.
Assault is attempting to injure someone through force or threats. You do not need to actually make physical contact with the victim for the state to charge you with assault. Instead, you only need to threaten violence against a victim. Assault is occasionally referred to as attempted battery by some people.
The victim needs to have a legitimate reason to fear a perpetrator’s threats for the crime to reach the level of assault. For instance, if someone is walking down the street with a wooden sword and you feel a tinge of fear, this likely isn’t going to merit assault. However, if the person readies the sword to swing it at someone, that will likely lead to an assault charge.
Battery is the physical act of harming someone. Once you put your hands on another individual with the intent to harm them, you’re committing battery. Battery can come in the form of using your hands as a weapon or using another object to injure someone.
Battery requires intent in California. If you collide with someone by accident, this isn’t going to rise to the level of battery. However, if you intentionally tackle someone on the street, this will likely lead to an assault and battery charge.
Is Assault and Battery a Severe Crime in California?
Of the two crimes, assault is the least severe when referring to punishments and stigma. Assault will typically fall under the umbrella of a misdemeanor, while battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the level of violence involved.
Misdemeanors are less severe crimes and typically come with a jail sentence of under one year. It is much easier to request that a misdemeanor be expunged from your record, and it likely won’t act as a deterrent to securing a job or housing.
Felonies are crimes that will come with jail time of over one year. These crimes also come with additional penalties, such as putting you at risk of the three strikes law and causing difficulties in finding housing and a job after you serve your time.
You’ll want to take either crime seriously, but you’ll really want an attorney with you if you’re facing a felony.
What Are the Penalties for Assault and Battery in San Bernardino?
Assault and battery both carry different penalties. As assault is typically a misdemeanor, it will carry less severe penalties than battery, which can fluctuate between misdemeanor and felony status, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Simple assault carries a maximum punishment of up to six months in county jail. You may also be charged a fine of up to $1,000 and serve a probation period.
Battery as a misdemeanor will have a similar penalty as assault. You’ll be looking at a maximum fine of $2,000 and the same jail time for simple assault.
If the case is heinous, you’ll likely be facing a felony for battery. In these instances, the maximum sentence increases to three years, to be served either in a county jail or a state prison. You’ll also have to contend with a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000.
What Are Some Legal Defenses for Assault and Battery in San Bernardino?
If the police charge you with assault and battery, don’t panic. There are a few legal defenses that you can use to explain your side of the story. You should discuss the case with your San Bernardino criminal defense attorney and see if they believe that any of these legal defenses have merits for your case. Some of the most common legal defenses for assault and battery are:
- Self-defense: One of the most ubiquitous reasons people give for committing assault, you can demonstrate in court that the other party intended to harm you and that you were just doing what it took to defend yourself. If you are in fear for your safety, the state believes that self-defense is justified. However, the level of defense needs to meet the level of the threat; you cannot attack a person for looking at you the wrong way, for example.
- Accident: What may look like a malicious attempt to injure someone may just be an earnest accident. Bumping into someone while you are in a hurry is not assault as long as you didn’t do anything to intentionally hurt them. Battery requires intent, and without it, the state doesn’t really have a case.
- False accusation: Sometimes, a person’s memory of an incident is hazy, and they might not remember every detail perfectly. People deal with incidents of false identification frequently in the criminal justice system. Police lineups and looking at books of photos are not always a good way to identify perpetrators of crimes.
What’s Worse, Attempted Murder or Assault and Battery?
While all three are distinct crimes, assault and battery can edge close to attempted murder in some circumstances. If an assault is severe enough and the prosecutors can show an intent to kill another individual, you may find yourself facing an attempted murder charge.
It’s not common to see an attempted murder charge tacked on to assault and battery, but you’ll definitely want to treat it with respect when dealing with it. Compared to assault and battery, attempted murder carries harsher penalties, and you will need a skilled attorney to properly defend yourself.
Should I Hire an Attorney If I’m Facing a Charge of Assault and Battery?
You should always hire an attorney when dealing with any criminal charge in court. There aren’t any laws on the books requiring a person to hire a San Bernardino lawyer for their case, but any legal professional will tell you that having an attorney is practically a necessity.
Criminal charges all come with high stakes and severe penalties if the jury finds you guilty. You could be looking at an extended stay in jail or a hefty fine. If you go it alone, you’ll be more exposed to a potential guilty verdict, as you don’t have the same experience and knowledge that comes with being an attorney.
A seasoned defense lawyer has handled many similar cases to yours and knows what to do when navigating your case and the justice system. They know all the applicable laws and can use this knowledge to gain any leverage they can in the trial or the pretrial period.
Many prosecutors will try to push cases through by offering a plea deal to the accused. In these deals, you can plead guilty to the offense without a trial in return for a reduced sentence. Your attorney can review any plea deal you receive and then give you an unbiased opinion on the fairness of the deal and whether it is worth considering.
Exum Law Offices: Your Experienced San Bernardino Assault and Battery Lawyer
You shouldn’t go it alone in court for any criminal charge. Assault and battery can be severe crimes that stick with you for years to come. Whether you plan on pleading guilty or fighting the charge, you’ll want an attorney in your corner to help advocate for you and get you an outcome you can be happy with.
At Exum Law Offices, we can work tirelessly to advocate for you and get you the help you need. Contact us today to see how we can help you through the process.