Assault (PC 240):

Penal Code 240 states that an assault (simple assault) is an attempt to willfully commit violent injury on someone else. It is important to note that “assault” and “battery” are two distinct crimes; whereas in the case of battery, there was actual use of unlawful violence, assault is the attempt to do so.

 Penalties (PC 240):

Penal Code 240 simple assault is a misdemeanor in California. In most simple assault cases, the penalties carry up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Legal Defenses (PC 240):

In California, you may be charged and convicted of assault even if no one was hurt by your behavior. There are several legal defenses our team of attorneys can work with in order to fight your assault charges. Several defenses include: you were wrongly accused, you did not have the intent to act willfully towards another person, you acted in self-defense, and/or you did not have the ability to inflict force on the other person. There are many instances where you may believe that the only viable option is to use force to defend against danger and/or that the amount of force you used seemed reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.


Simple Assault in California – Laws & Penalties

Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge under California law. It is the least serious assault related charge.

The definition of simple assault is an “unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another“.

You do not need to make any physical contact with another person, or cause any injury to be charged and convicted with simple assault.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor simple assault, you could face up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail, under California Law.

Simple Assault – California Penal Code Section 240-241

Simple Battery in California– Laws & Penalties

Simple battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, a determination that is made by the judge.

It is defined as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person.

If you are convicted of simple battery, you could face up to $2,000 in fines and 6 months in jail, under California Law.

Simple Battery California Penal Code Section 242-243

Assault with a Deadly Weapon in California – Laws & Penalties

Assault with a deadly weapon, (not a firearm, see below) is a felony under California law.

It is defined as an assault in which you use any “deadly weapon” other than a firearm in a manner likely to produce great bodily harm.

Deadly weapon is deliberately not defined, and can be interpreted as broadly as possible. A deadly weapon could be a blunt instrument like a bat or a tire iron, a blade instrument like a knife, or even a moving vehicle if it is alleged you deliberately attempt to hit a person with your car.

If you are convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and 4 months in prison, under California Law.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon (not a firearm) California Penal CodeSection 245

Assault with a Firearm in California – Laws & Penalties

Assault with a firearm is similar to California’s assault with a deadly weapon offense, with one significant exception: it  does not have to be committed “in a manner likely to produce bodily harm”.

Just having a firearm or gun on your person or in your possession during the commission of any assault is enough to bring a felony charge of assault with a firearm.

If you are convicted of assault with a firearm, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and 4 months in prison, under California Law.

California Assault and Battery Enhancements and Aggregating Factors

All assault offenses have enhancements, exceptions, and aggravating factors the can increase penalties. These factors can be where the incident took place, such as on the grounds of a school, in a hospital or prison, or who the act was committed against.

Penalties will be increased if you commit an assault against a:

  • police officer
  • public safety officer or firefighter
  • teacher
  • prison guard
  • government official
  • highway worker
  • bus driver, cab driver or transit operator
  • many other special cases and enhancements

Please contact us for details on other special cases and penalty enhancements you may be charged with.” –source