Being charged with assault can have severe consequences, so it is important to have the right attorney to build a strong defense.

Assault Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

Our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Underwood Law Firm assist people facing assault charges in Bakersfield, California, and other parts of Kern County. Our assault attorneys can help you understand your defense options and fight for your rights to ensure you receive a fair trial. We have the resources and comprehensive skills necessary to help you look toward a brighter future.

Accused of a Crime?

What Is Assault?

Under California law, assault is an intentional attempt to injure or physically harm another person. Three elements must be met to secure a conviction for assault:

  • The defendant acted in a way that would cause a reasonable person to realize that the act would directly and most likely result in the application of physical force against another;
  • The defendant’s actions can be described as “willful”; and
  • There was a present ability that the defendant could apply physical force.

The primary difference between assault and battery is that the latter involves actual contact between the defendant and the alleged victim. Assault, on the other hand, involves no actual contact. For example, if two people argue and one attempts to hit another but misses, they may face assault charges.

Types of Assault Charges

California Penal Code recognizes several forms of assault. However, assault with no weapon is the most commonly charged assault-related offense in the state. According to a 10-year crime analysis by the Office of the District Attorney in the County of Santa Clara, the total number of assaults with no weapons used spiked from 2,000 to more than 3,800 in Los Angeles alone (an 85-percent increase).

However, assault with no weapon, which is often charged as simple assault, is not the only type of assault charge in California. Other types of assault charges include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault with a firearm
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Assault with caustic chemicals
  • Assault on a public official
  • Assault on a police officer or emergency personnel

Facing assault charges, regardless of the type, can have disastrous consequences on your freedom and future. At Underwood Law Firm, our assault attorneys in Bakersfield, California, help people build the strongest defense possible to help them fight the charges and get the best possible outcome.

Possible Penalties for Assault in California

Depending on the type of assault charge, you could be facing a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, individuals convicted of assault in California have to pay fines and may be sentenced to jail.

The severity of possible penalties depends on a number of factors, including whether the defendant used a firearm or a deadly weapon while committing the offense and whether the victim was a public official, police officer, firefighter, emergency personnel, or another person who has a special status under California’s assault law.

In addition to hefty fines and time behind bars, a person convicted of assault may lose some of their civil rights, including but not limited to the right to possess a firearm and the right to vote. If you are facing assault charges, it is vital to contact a knowledgeable defense attorney to help protect your rights in court and avoid the many negative consequences associated with an assault conviction.

Possible Defenses for Assault Charges

As we have mentioned earlier, there are three elements that must be met to obtain an assault conviction in California. The prosecution may not have sufficient evidence to prove these three elements and secure a conviction against the defendant. When facing assault charges, you need to understand the possible defenses that may be available to you in your specific case. Some of the common defense strategies against assault charges include:

  • Self-defense and defense of others. If you can prove that you attempted to use physical force in order to defend yourself or someone else, your actions may be justified. In this case, you argue that you intended to stop an attack rather than inflict harm.
  • Lack of ability to assault. The prosecution must prove that you had the present ability to assault the alleged victim to obtain a conviction.
  • Lack of willful intent. As with any offense, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had willful intent to assault another person. If the incident was an accident or your actions were misinterpreted, you might be able to prove the lack of willful intent.
  • False accusations. Since assault does not involve actual contact and bodily injuries, many people are falsely accused of the crime.

In any case, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend you against assault charges. Each case is unique, which is why an assault attorney will review the facts of your case and devise a strategy that offers the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.