San Bernardino Assault Attorney
Since 2020, overall violent crime in California declined, but one violent type of crime – aggravated assault – increased. If you’ve been accused of assault in San Bernardino, then it’s important to understand the charges against you, your legal rights, and the potential defense strategies that can be used in court to defend you.
Here at Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40+ years of experience defending clients accused of assault and aggravated assault in San Bernardino. You can rely on our knowledge and experience to help you secure the best possible legal outcome in your situation. Learn more about assault charges and the potential penalties associated with a conviction below.
What is Assault? | PC 240 & 241
Assault is defined under California Penal Code 240 and 241 as the intentional and willful act of applying force to another person in a violent way. While that definition makes it sound like bodily injury is inherent in this crime, the prosecution does not have to prove that any touching or injury occurred. Rather, a criminal assault must involve the following elements:
- You acted in a way that would result in the “application of force” against another person
- The act was committed willfully
- You should have reasonably known that your actions would result in the application of force to another
- You were able to use unlawful force
Types of Assault
As the definition implies, all incidents of assault are considered violent. There are different types of assaults per California law, though, and some of them come with steeper penalties than a simple assault charge. Learn more about each specific type of assault below:
Assault | PC 240
This penal code outlines exactly what actions are considered a simple assault. This code applies whenever a person willfully acts in such a way that inflicts force on another person. To get convicted under this penal code, prosecutors must prove that:
• You applied force to a person (or attempted to)
• You acted willfully
• You should have reasonably known that the act would result in force to another person
• You had the ability to apply force
• You have no legal justification to act in such a manner
Keep in mind that the actual use of force against someone else would be considered battery. Simply the act of attempting to apply force to another person is enough to be found guilty of assault.
Assault Against a Police Officer | PC 241
This penal code deals specifically with assaults against police officers, public safety first responders, or other peace officers while they are performing their official duties. The long list of groups included in this penal code includes officials like:
- Animal control officers
- Emergency medical technicians
- Search and rescue members
- Traffic officers
This list is not comprehensive. In general, it covers any type of official who is tasked with engaging with you as part of his or her official duties.
Aggravated Assault | PC 245
A simple assault charge can become more serious if aggravating factors exist, especially if you commit assault with a deadly weapon is outlined in California Penal Code Section 245(a). Under this penal code, assault with a deadly weapon happens when someone commits an assault with any type of weapon or uses force that’s likely to produce great bodily injury.
Criminal Penalties Associated with Assault
If you’re facing assault charges in San Bernardino, then it’s important to understand the potential criminal penalties you could face if you get convicted. The exact sentence you’re given will depend on your exact charge, any aggravating factors, and your prior criminal history. Below, we’ll go over what to expect with each charge.
Criminal Penalties for PC 240
Violating PC 240 is considered a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of simple assault in San Bernardino, then you could face up to six months in county jail, fines of up to $1,000, or both.
Criminal Penalties for PC 241
Violating PC 241 will result in fines of up to $2,000 and potential imprisonment in county jail for up to a year. Often, this type of violation is taken seriously by court officials because they are one of the protected groups listed in the penal code.
Penalties for Violating PC 245
Violating PC 245 could result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on factors like:
- Whether anyone was harmed in the assault
- Whether the victim is a protected group
- The type of weapon used in the assault
You could face some significant sentences if these circumstances exist including fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in state prison for up to four years.
Common Defense Strategies Against Assault Charges in San Bernardino
To avoid the worst of these criminal penalties, you’ll need to avoid a conviction. That means you need to hire an attorney that is capable of formulating a defense strategy that accentuates why you are not guilty. Learn the most common defense strategies against assault charges in San Bernardino below:
The most common defense argument is saying that you committed the assault in an act of self-defense. By California law, it’s legal to use reasonable force against someone that you believe has an intent to harm you. Your use of force must be considered reasonable, though, if you hope to utilize this strategy.
Lack of Intent
Another common defense strategy is to argue that you had no intent to harm the other party. To be found guilty of assault, your actions must have been willful. If you can prove your actions were accidental or unintentional, then you can avoid a conviction.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The most common defense that we have found to be successful, is the illegal search and seizure argument. It is often for arresting officers to break the law and violate the rights of the defendant at some point throughout the arrest process. If this occurred, then we may be able to get your case dismissed, as the evidence gathered cannot be used against you in a court of law.
Hiring a Skilled Assault Defense Attorney in San Bernardino
The defense strategies outlined above aren’t the only arguments you could use in court. To determine what type of defense strategy is best in your situation, an attorney will need to consider the facts regarding your alleged crime, the circumstances of your arrest, and the types of evidence the prosecution has against you. Further, you’ll need to predict what types of questions the Prosecution will ask you in an attempt to derail your defensive arguments.
For all those reasons, it’s advised that you hire an experienced assault defense attorney if you’re facing charges in San Bernardino. A good lawyer will help you consider all the above factors before your hearing, which will be a huge advantage in court.
Factors to Consider When Hiring an Assault Defense Attorney
Are you currently looking for an assault defense attorney to represent you in court? If so, then it’s important to hire an experienced local attorney. We advise vetting each lawyer or firm based on the qualifications below:
- Track record
- Ethos – credibility
Here at Wallin & Klarich, we pride ourselves in exemplifying all these qualities and more. We invite you to browse through our website more to see the proof for yourself.
Lean on Our 40+ Years of Assault Defense Experience in San Bernardino
Getting accused of assault in San Bernardino is a serious ordeal. It’s vital that you understand exactly what you’re getting charged with and the potential penalties you could face if you get convicted. Once you understand those two things, you’ll need to start working with an attorney to construct a solid defense strategy to help you out in court.
Here at Wallin & Klarich, we pride ourselves on having the experience, track record, communication, and credibility you need to secure justice in your case. Lean on our 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of assault in San Bernardino, and we’ll fight to secure the best possible legal outcome that we can for you. Contact us now by visiting our website or calling (877) 4-NO-JAIL to learn more about how we can help you.