35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


California Assault Lawyers

Are You Looking to Hire an Assault Lawyer in California?

If you are convicted of assault in California, you may be required to serve 6 months in county jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines. However, assault is often charged with battery, a more severe crime with harsher penalties. If you are charged with assault and/or battery, you need to speak with an attorney right away.

With the guidance of a California assault attorney at Wallin & Klarich, you may be able to avoid jail time and get your life back. Read below for more information on assault charges or simply pick up the phone and call (877) 466-5245 for free, immediate advice from an expert California assault defense lawyer.

Why Hire Wallin & Klarich?

The success of our assault defense firm has helped us achieve the highest of merits, including a 5 out of 5 AV rating on Lawyers.com, a 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.com, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

For over 30 years, the California assault lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have helped many people like you facing assault charges. Here are just a few testimonials provided by some of our previous clients:

“I’m writing to thank you for the outstanding legal work you did on my son’s assault case. Bill and I are both extremely pleased with the final outcome and thank you for the significant efforts made in his defense. During my career as a worker’s compensation manager for a large aerospace corporation, I worked closely with many lawyers so I have a good instinct for quality legal expertise and talent. The cream always rises to the top!”

With deep gratitude,

– I.M.

“I John B. was accused of a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery charges. The attorneys of Wallin & Klarich presented my case in the best light to the court and negotiate with the District Attorney. In the end my charges were DISMISSED. Without the expert advice and guidance of Wallin & Klarich I could have lost my job. I am grateful to Wallin & Klarich for their help. I would recommend them highly to anyone facing a similar situation or any criminal charge.”

– J.B.

“My wife and I wish to thank you all for your efforts on behalf of our Grandson, William J. Marsh over the last six months. Both Bill and our Granddaughter Deborah have kept us informed of the progress that was being made and reassured us of their confidence in your ability to provide him the best defense possible. We believe you have been able to justify their confidence when we learned the decision.”

“At our age 88 and 85 respectively, it leaves us with the hope that we will be able to see him again. Thank you so very much.”

– R.E.M.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

You can place your trust in Wallin & Klarich. Our knowledgeable California assault lawyers are committed to defending your rights and your freedom. Call us today for immediate help on your assault case.

For more information on assault charges and penalties, read below or simply pick up the phone and speak to one of our skilled assault attorneys today.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation.

What is assault according to California law?

Under California Penal Code 240, California assault occurs when a person “unlawfully attempts, combined with having a present ability, to do violent injury to the person of another”.

Many people use the terms “assault” and “battery” as if they were one and the same when referring to criminal charges. However, this is not the case and “assault” and “battery” are in fact two separate offenses carrying two separate punishments. Regardless, if you are charged with either crime, you should contact a California assault attorney to fight for you and protect your legal rights.

Assault vs. Battery under the Penal Code

California assault essentially consists of the actions one takes leading to a battery. For instance, the act of pointing a gun at someone you are arguing with in order to make him or her think you are about to strike him or her would be charged as an assault in California.

Have your or a loved one been charged with California assault? Call our assault lawyers today.
What is California Assault under Penal Code 240?

On the other hand, battery under California Penal Code 243 is any unwanted contact with a third-party that caused injury to the third-party. Examples of battery include intentionally punching (with fists or objects), tripping, or shoving another person.

Although an assault may take place without the commission of a battery, a battery cannot occur without first starting as an assault. This is because an assault is threatening to cause physical harm — combined with a present ability to cause said harm — and a battery is the actual causing of an injury to another. Simply put, an assault is an attempted battery and battery is a completed assault. The main difference between the two is that no physical contact is necessary to be convicted of assault.

In order to be convicted of the crime of assault under California Penal Code 240 and 241, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following five elements against you:

  1. Your act was a direct and probable result in the application of force to another;
  2. Your act was willful;
  3. You were aware of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize your act would directly and probably result in the application of force to another;
  4. You had the present ability to apply the unlawful force.


Were you acting in self-defense or in defense of others when you committed the assault in California? Call us today for immediate help.
If you can prove your actions were in self defense or in defense of others, your assault charges may be dismissed.

Defenses to a California assault charge

There are many defenses available to a person who is accused of assault. The most common is the defense of “self-defense” or “defense of others. If you can show that your actions were necessary because the alleged victim was about to assault you or another person close to you then this could lead to a dismissal of the assault charges.

Another defense to an assault charge is that you did not intend to assault the alleged victim. This can occur in a situation where you might swing your arm in the direction of a person without realizing the person is there.

It is absolutely crucial for you to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney if you are facing assault charges so that you may begin to plan your defense to the charges.

What are the penalties for being convicted of assault?

Generally speaking, if you are convicted of assault in California under Penal Code 241, you can be sentenced to six months in county jail, fined up to $1,000, or both. Additionally, the court may require you to take a batterer’s course or do community service.

Furthermore, if you are charged with assaulting someone who is a special class of victim, committing the assault in certain locations, employing dangerous weapons, or having a special relationship to the victim, then you can be facing increased jail time.

If you are convicted of aggravated assault under California Penal Code 245, you can be facing a state prison sentence of two, three, or four years, or a sentence in county jail of up to one year, or by a fine up to $10,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Assault FAQs

To help you get a better handle on the various aspects and considerations in an assault charge, our assault lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have provided answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to assault in our FAQ section. There you can find answers to questions like:

Can I be convicted of assault if I intended to assault a different person than the one I am charged with assaulting?

I was defending myself, but it is my word against theirs, what can I do to help my situation?

Will I be convicted of aggravated assault if I used an unloaded gun?

Prosecution of Assault Charges Under California Law – Penal Code 240-241

Facing assault charges in California is scary, and it is an experience few would ever willingly put themselves through. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience in defending clients facing assault charges in California, and we understand you have a lot of questions and need advice from someone experienced in the criminal justice system. If you are charged with assault, you need to contact one of our criminal defense attorneys today.

In order to be convicted of the crime of assault under California Penal Code 240 and 241, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements against you:

  1. Your act was a direct and probable result in the application of force to another;
  2. Your act was willful;
  3. You were aware of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize your act would directly and probably result in the application of force to another;
  4. You had the present ability to apply the unlawful force.

The Elements of Assault Charges

Every element of the offense must be proven in court in order for a prosecutor to secure a conviction against you. Each element has its own particularities, and if the prosecutor fails to prove just one of these elements, then you can win your case and get your life back. Feel free to contact one of our experienced assault lawyers today for immediate help on your case.

1. Your act was a direct and probable result in the application of force to another

Simply put, the first element of an assault charge requires the prosecution to show that you were the person acting and that your act potentially or did in fact result in physical violence against another. This is a threshold issue which links you to the charged crime and allows the prosecution to attempt to move forward with showing why the act in question should merit an assault conviction.

2. Your act was willful

Assault Charges
Willful act of assualt

In order to demonstrate that you made an unlawful attempt at committing an assault, the prosecutor must also prove that you willfully acted in committing the alleged assault. Willfully does not necessarily mean that you intended to actually injure the person or that you intended to break the law. All that is necessary to prove you acted willfully is that you intended the specific act.

3.You were aware of the facts

Often times defendants charged with simple assault will argue that they had no idea that the person accusing them of assault would think their actions would directly and probably result in the use of force against the accuser. However, even if this really is the case, this is not the standard that the prosecution must prove. All that is required to meet this element is that the prosecutor shows that a reasonable person would realize that your act would lead to the assault.

4. You had the present ability to apply the unlawful force

California is one of the few states which requires that the accused must have a present ability to carry out the violent injury to the person of another, in addition to its other elements, in order to be convicted of assault. This means you must have actually been able to carry out the act of violence against another when the alleged assault occurred.

For example, the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused positioned himself or herself on the side of a building and aimed their loaded gun at police officers. Likewise, if the prosecution shows that you were attempting to throw food at a passing car and you had food in your hands at the time, then present ability will also likely be proven.

What else should I know about assault charges in California?

If you are being charged with aggravated assault under California Penal Code 245, then the prosecution must prove the following in addition to the above elements:

  1. You assaulted a third-party pursuant to California Penal Code 240; and
  2. The assault was committed using a deadly weapon or other means of force, likely to cause great bodily injury.

Due to the danger in committing an act of violence against another person, courts treat assault cases very seriously. If you or a loved one is currently facing assault charges in California, you should contact an Orange County assault lawyer to discuss your case now.

Assault Defenses – PC 240

When you are facing criminal assault charges, you want to make sure you know what your best options are. If you or a loved one is being accused of assault in Southern California, you can speak to an experienced assault attorney today to receive immediate help. Often times there are many facts, circumstances, and legal technicalities to a particular case which will mitigate a sentence or even get the charges dismissed. With over 30 years of experience defending clients facing assault charges in Southern California, our team of professional criminal defense lawyers will prepare the most effective defense strategy on your behalf to obtain the best possible result in your case.
Due to the potential serious consequences of an assault conviction, it is vital that you immediately retain an experienced California criminal lawyer who can protect your legal rights.

Types of Defenses Commonly Used in Assault Cases

An assault attorney can use the following defenses in your case in order to get your charges dropped:

Self-defense and Defense of Others

The California legal system allows you to act in self-defense and protect yourself from another person if you reasonably believe you are facing an unlawful touching, serious injury, or death. Furthermore, this protection extends if you are acting in defense of a third-party facing a threat. In this case, being able to successfully demonstrate that you were acting in self-defense or in the defense of a third-party means your actions were legally justified. However, keep in mind that if you were the primary aggressor, this defense may not be available. Speak to one of our assault lawyers in Southern California today to receive immediate answers to your questions pertaining to your particular case.

No Intent to Commit the Assault

Moreover, circumstances may have arisen where you may have startled or reacted quickly to something happening near a person, and it appeared to the person that you intended to strike him or her and immediately called the police on you. If this is the case, then you never intended any assault, and you have a strong defense for your case. Feel free to seek the aggressive representation of our assault attorneys today.

No Present Ability to Commit the Assault

Alternatively, some people are charged with assault when they were not presently capable of committing the assault charged. For example, if you were arrested for pointing an unloaded gun at someone and were charged with aggravated assault under California Penal Code 245, then the prosecutor will be unable to prove that you had the present ability to commit the assault because it would be impossible for the gun you had to fire.
An assault charge is a charge that is often made falsely. This is because any person can claim that he or she was assaulted when there are no witnesses other than the accused and the accuser. Furthermore, no actual injury is required to convict you of assault, which makes a false allegation even easier to make. It is extremely important to have an experienced assault attorney fighting for you to avoid a wrongful conviction for this crime.
Remember, an arrest is not a conviction and you still have an opportunity to clear your name.

PC 245 – California Punishment for Assault

Have you been arrested for assault in California? For over 30 years, our attorneys have helped clients facing assault charges in Southern California. Call Wallin & Klarich today.
Arrested for assault?

The sentencing and punishment for assault convictions in California can be severe. If you are found guilty of an assault charge after a trial or agree to a plea bargain admitting guilt to the assault charge, you will be required to attend a sentencing hearing. When you are sentenced, you will be facing the potential of jail time, as well as a substantial fine and other serious consequences. Being sentenced for a crime is frightening and it is normal to be anxious.

At the sentencing hearing you will need the experienced guidance of a California assault attorney. Your California assault lawyer can help you attempt to convince the judge that there are mitigating factors in your case that warrant a probationary sentence.

The preparation your California assault defense attorney makes for your sentencing hearing will depend on the type of assault you committed because there are varying degrees of assault convictions which carry different sentences.

Misdemeanor Assault or “Simple Assault”

California Penal Code 240 classifies assault as a “misdemeanor,” and the punishment for assault consists of a sentence of six months in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Additionally, you may be required by the court to complete an expensive batterer’s program or perform community service.

Punishment for Assault Against a Peace Officer

Your punishment for assault can be even higher if you are charged with this crime against a person who is a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or similar public safety persons. Under California Penal Code 241, knowingly assaulting a person who is a public safety person is punishable by a maximum fine of up to $2,000 in addition to the possibility of a sentence of one year in county jail.

Punishment for Assault with a Deadly Weapon or “Aggravated Assault” – PC 245

Assault with a deadly weapon, commonly known as aggravated assault, under California Penal Code 245, can be either prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor. This is a very serious charge and the consequences can lead to a harsh sentence.

If you are convicted of assault with a deadly weapon under California Penal Code 245, you will be facing imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years, or in county jail for up to one year, a fine of up to $10,000, or both fine and imprisonment. If the deadly weapon was a firearm, then the minimum punishment for assault is six months in county jail. If the assault with a deadly weapon conviction is a felony involving the use of a car as the weapon, then you will lose your driver’s license for life under Vehicle Code Section 13351.5(a).

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Assault in California

Under the assault laws in California, a charge of assault is a serious matter with serious consequences that may affect you for the rest of your life. If you are facing criminal charges for assault, you probably have many questions. Below are some frequently asked questions our clients have when facing charges for assault in California. Your Southern California assault defense attorney will be able to provide detailed answers to all of your questions and/or concerns. Please call us for a free phone consultation.

1. If I was charged with violating assault laws when I actually hit the person and committed a battery, can I win based on the theory that the prosecutor charged me with the wrong crime?

The short answer is probably not under these facts alone. The prosecutor is free to charge you with a lesser version of the same or similar crime if he or she so chooses. According to the assault laws under California Penal Code sections 240-241, assault is an attempt to violently injure another individual. California Penal Code sections 242-243 define a battery as the unlawful use of force or violence upon another individual. Simply put, an assault is required for a battery, but a battery is not required for an assault.

2. I was charged with assault, but I was defending myself. It is my word against theirs, what can I do to help my situation?

If you were in fact defending yourself or a third-party from the imminent danger of serious bodily harm by your attacker, then self-defense may be an appropriate defense for your case. However, this depends on whether or not your assault defense attorney can argue that you were defending yourself or a third-party. The California assault laws provide that you can only use force reasonably necessary to prevent injury to yourself or a third person. This means that your act of self-defense must ordinarily be proportional to the imminent threat of harm. Call us today to speak to an experienced assault defense attorney.

3. Can I be charged with violating assault laws if I only threw an object at someone driving his or her car?

Yes. Although you can also be charged with a misdemeanor for throwing an object at a vehicle on the roadway pursuant to California Vehicle Code 23110, this act also may be charged as assault under California Penal Code Section 240.

4. Can I be convicted of assault if I intended to assault a different person than the one I am charged with assaulting?

Yes. Under the doctrine of Transferred Intent and the assault laws under California Penal Code sections 240-241, the prosecutor is required to prove is that you willfully assaulted someone. There is no requirement that the person assaulted was your intended target. Defending cases where you accidentally assaulted or injured a bystander are complex and you should contact one of our experienced Southern California assault lawyers immediately to get help on your case.

5. Will I be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon if I used an unloaded gun?

This ultimately depends on how you used the gun. If you simply pointed a firearm at the alleged victim and it was unloaded, then your Southern California assault defense attorney can argue that you did not have the present ability to commit the assault. However, if you used the unloaded gun to attempt to beat the alleged victim, then you still can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon under California Penal Code Section 245.

6. Can I be charged with violation of assault laws if the alleged victim was my spouse or relative?

Yes. Under California’s assault laws, so long as the prosecutor can prove the elements of assault, you can be charged and convicted with assault regardless of whether the victim was a spouse, a relative, or a complete stranger.

Furthermore, in the situation where the victim is a spouse, if an actual battery occurred, you can also be charged with spousal battery charges under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1). This law only requires that the force was willful or intentional upon the attacked spouse. Even as a misdemeanor, a domestic violence charge is very serious, and you should contact a California assault defense attorney to protect your rights.

Get the help you need today

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The assault defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients for over 30 years.

At Wallin & Klarich, we know that navigating the legal system with the weight of a pending criminal charge is scary and confusing. When we take your case, our experienced criminal defense attorneys will guide you throughout your case from the moment you hire us. We have over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients and stand ready to answer any questions you might have.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL (466-5245) today for a free phone consultation with one of our California assault defense attorneys. We have offices conveniently located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville.

Assault Testimonials

I was in a state of shock when I was arrested for attempted battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. I knew I was innocent of these crimes and knew that I needed to find the right criminal defense attorney to help me fight my case. I wasn’t comfortable with the first attorney I met with but I knew immediately that I was in good hands after meeting with my attorney from Wallin & Klarich. I knew my attorney believed in me and my case and would fight the charges to the bitter end. My attorney pushed my case to the day of trial and that is when the District Attorney dismissed all of the charges against me. Thank you Wallin & Klarich for standing by me and I would recommend your services to anybody facing criminal charges in Southern California.

– D. M.



Thank you so very much for the wonderful work you did for my son. I appriciate all that you are doing to help us. I didn really get a chance to say thank you when we left court. I hope you know that your truly appriciated.

– D.C.

I recently retained your law office for my son, Scott Berdequez. From my initial call, I was treated professionally, but as that same time with compassion. The call back from you was immediate. I was assigned a Wallin & Klarich attorney. He too was very professional. He treated my son and me on a very personal level. His expertise helped reduce my son’s sentence for which we are both grateful.

– S.W.


I, Juan Flores, was very pleased with the services I received from WALLIN & KLARICH regarding my recent criminal matter.

My Wallin & Klarich Attorney handled the matter with professionalism and his dealings with the district attorney was to my satisfaction. My attorney was able to negotiate with the DA and they ultimately agreed not to file formal charges against me. The case was dismissed and the bond was exonerated. I would be pleases to recommend WALLIN & KLARICH to my family and friends and would use their services again if needed in the future.

– J.F.

“I was arrested with four other individuals. Thanks to the services of Wallin & Klarich I received no jail time and a reduction in the charges I faced. The other individuals all were represented by other attorneys and they all received jail time and had to plea to burglary charges. I am extremely grateful to my attorney at Wallin & Klarich and the services they provided me. I would recommend them to anyone else.”

– A. E. R.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon Testimonials

“I have a neighbor who was harassing me, coming onto my property without permission and riding his bicycle on my property. I was ultimately charged with assault with a deadly weapon but the District Attorney’s office did not file charges until almost two years later. I hired Wallin & Klarich and they recalled my warrant and got my case dismissed due to the District Attorney’s violation for lack of a speedy trial. Wallin & Klarich kept me out of jail and kept my record clear.”

– E. H.

“I sold some furniture, to friend at the time, who later refused to pay the balance owing. I later approached him to discuss the money owed and he started a big fight. I then defended myself. I was arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon because I won the fight he started when I returned a blow that connected and knocked him down. The District Attorney would not offer anything less than a felony, Wallin & Klarich took the case to trial and won, allowing me to work and live with no felony record.”

– T. S.

“Thank you for the wonderful job that you have done on behalf. When I was arrested in May of this year, I was very frightened. I was charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” and if convicted, I was looking at not only a strike (as in three strikes and you’re out) but also some serious jail time. The legal representation from Wallin & Klarich was outstanding. The tactics used by my attorney persuaded the court to dismiss all charges. I am forever thankful to Wallin & Klarich.”

– W. S.

“Recently I used the services of attorneys at the law firm of Wallin & Klarich. I was referred to this law firm by CTA after my arrest. A student alleged that I had assaulted him and I was subsequently arrested. In my initial consultation with Mr. Klarich the allegations were discussed and I retained the services of Wallin & Klarich. I was facing misdemeanor charges, which could have resulted in one year’s incarceration in the County jail, fines and the loss of my job as a teacher. In spite of the seriousness of the situation, I feel confident that my case was in the hands of the competent and knowledgeable attorneys. My attorney spoke with me, responded promptly to my calls, and kept me informed of all actions and the status of my case. My attorney met with the District Attorney on several occasions; advised me on the submission of statements of others and myself, and spoke with the investigating detective. Because of these ongoing and persistent efforts by Wallin & Klarich on my behalf no charges were ever filed and no Court appearance was required.”

– A. Z.

“I retained the services of Wallin & Klarich after I was arrested for battery in May 2000 in Pasadena, California. I met with my attorney to discuss my case and found him to be honest, highly professional as well as very personable. He discussed my case with me thoroughly and I left his office feeling at ease and confidant enough in him to make any and all professional judgements on my behalf.

Although it was my first offense, the Pasadena District Attorney’s office filed two charges of battery against me in June. I was facing a possibility of Incarceration and/or fines. Because my attorney was experienced and familiar with the court where my case was pending, he was able to negotiate a resolution with the District Attorney. I received no jail time, no fines and my case was dismissed after I completed a short-term counseling class. I would like to extend my gratitude to Wallin & Klarich for having such a knowledgeable and skilled attorney on your staff.”

– E. B.

“When I was charged with assault I knew I had serious problems. So I hired the law firm of Wallin & Klarich to represent me. Due to my ongoing medical problems, the case was dragged on for a long time. After several months, my attorney was able to convince the District Attorney’s office to substantially reduce the charges. I pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace (an infraction), and paid a small fine. Thank you Wallin & Klarich for helping me with my legal problems. I would recommend your services to anyone who finds themselves in this type of difficult situation.”

– C. M.

“It has been my extreme pleasure to have had Wallin & Klarich law firm represent me in my legal matters. My attorney did a great job keeping me informed on my concerns due too my case. He handled the situation in a professional manner and explained everything thoroughly as the case went on. So I could spend more time at home with my family. They also work with me on a monthly payment plan to take care of their legal services, which was very helpful. Thank you.”

– S. R.

“Our son was taken into custody for assault with a deadly weapon. He was looking at a maximum exposure of 4 years at the California Youth Authority. Our sons’ lawyer was able to resolve the case for home on probation and some community service. Our son means a lot to our family and we are very thankful to Wallin & Klarich for the extremely positive results obtained. We will recommend Wallin & Klarich to all our friends.”

– Mr. & Mrs. B.

“I was charged with a misdemeanor battery. Wallin & Klarich lawyers fought to keep me out of jail. I am glad they did. I am pleased to have been represented by such hard working lawyers. Wallin & Klarich have assembled the best talent of lawyers.”

– T.M.

“I had an argument with my neighbor after she yelled at my son for going into her yard to retrieve his ball. She called the police and advised them that I had assaulted her. I hired Wallin & Klarich to represent me, as I proclaimed my innocence. My attorney at Wallin & Klarich handled my case and was able to point out to the District Attorney the problems with the case. Wallin & Klarich was able to get the assault charges dismissed against me. I would recommend the services of Wallin & Klarich to you if you want an attorney that is very familiar with the courts, has a good reputation in these courts and will fight for you.”

– R. G.

I was charged with 3 felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and great bodily injury – all serious and violent strikes. I was facing the possibility of many years in prison. My Wallin & Klarich Attorney believed in my innocence and fought hard for my freedom. After fully discussing the factual details and legal defenses of my case with me and my family, he advised that we should take my case to Preliminary Hearing, and ultimately trial, instead of settling for a plea bargain that would land me in jail with a criminal record. He was very confident that we had some powerful legal and factual issues to support our case.

My attorney was fully prepared for the Preliminary Hearing, but advised me that the prosecution’s burden of proof at the prelim was very slight and therefore it would be a very difficult task to get the charges dismissed at prelim. After the cross examination of five witnesses and argument to the court, the judge dismissed all charges against me. I am very grateful and thankful to Wallin & Klarich for their hard work and dedication to my case. Thank you Wallin & Klarich.

– N.L.

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