Assault is “the unlawful attempt to violently injure another person.” Threats and attempts to physically injure someone qualify as an assault. In other words, a victim does not actually have to be touched for a defendant to be charged with assault. Under California criminal law, assaults can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances. The different types of assault carry different penalties, for example:
- Simple assault: an unlawful attempt, coupled with present ability to commit a violent injury upon another person. Simple assault can only be charged as a misdemeanor.
- Sexual assault and battery: unwanted sexual contact to which the victim did not consent. Conviction for sexual assault and battery can result in incarceration in county jail or state prison and life long sex offender registration.
- Assault with a deadly weapon: using a weapon (other than a firearm) of any kind by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI). Assault with a deadly weapon can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction for this offense may be considered a 'Strike” under the California Three Strikes Law. Using a car as a deadly weapon could mean lifetime revocation of one's California driver's license.
- Assault with a firearm: an assault on another person with a firearm. Assault with a firearm can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
See also, Assault And Battery. Click here for more information about Assault.