Los Angeles Aggravated Assault Attorney
Facing an aggravated assault charge in California carries serious consequences. If you have been charged with any form of assault or battery in Los Angeles, knowing your rights and securing a top criminal defense attorney with thorough knowledge of the California penal code is important.
Your freedom, finances, and future are all on the line when facing such serious charges. You need criminal defense counsel that knows the difference between assault and battery, understands the strategies for legal defense against these serious charges, and has a track record of success making deals and winning cases in Los Angeles courtrooms.
Who We Are
Located in California with locations in Bellflower, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Monica, the Law Office of Stein and Markus is a client-focused criminal defense firm. Established in 2019, the firm has made an immediate impact in combating prosecutorial and judicial overreach in aggravated assault and battery cases. Don’t mistake the date of the firm’s founding as an indication the attorneys you trust with your case lack the experience to get the job done.
Andrew M. Stein and Joseph A. Markus each bring decades of experience trying cases and have earned their reputation as top Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers. Stein has defended hundreds of clients, while Markus brings 30 years of experience prosecuting cases in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Stein and Markus are each a worthy adversary in any courtroom, with the expertise to curtail many persecutor strategies. Together, they represent your best hope to beat aggravated assault charges in Los Angeles.
Violent Crime in California
Many forms of violent crime have declined in California in recent years. Violent robberies and rapes declined in 2019 and 2020. The restrictions on public activities during the COVID-19 pandemic drove reported violent crimes lower still throughout 2020. Aggravated assault arrests surged, however, increasing by 7.5% to make up 65% of violent crimes statewide.
Six of California’s 15 largest counties saw an increase in violent crime in 2020 and in early assessments of 2021 statistics. The largest cities in the state, including Los Angeles in particular, saw violent crime arrests continuing to elevate in 2021. It is important to remember that every case is its own situation. Statistics and trends should never lead police and prosecutors to a presumption of guilt.
The legal system has an important role in combating violent crime. Still, it also has an obligation to the citizens to get things right when a serious charge like aggravated assault is levied. One of our jobs as top Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys is to provide aggravated assault defense that protects your rights and makes sure the charges fit the crime – if, in fact, a crime was committed.
Difference Between Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are frequently used interchangeably by laypeople, but they have very different meanings under the law. Frequently, they are charges that are brought together. Assault in California is the act of attempting to cause harm unlawfully, while battery is based on the action of actually asserting force or using violence. Assault can be charged without physical action occurring between the two parties, while battery always involves physical, forceful, and willful action taking place. When it comes time to examine the charges you are facing, it is vital that your legal counsel has a sound understanding of the California penal code.
What Makes Assault Aggravated
A simple assault involves any use of force of one person on another. The injury or intended injury is typically minor in a simple assault. Simple assault moves into the territory of aggravated assault once a deadly weapon is introduced. A weapon and the intention, paired with the capacity to create the likelihood that a bodily injury will occur, are deciding factors in bringing an aggravated assault charge.
You may be caught off guard when you receive an aggravated assault charge. The penalties are significantly steeper than a simple assault, with the potential jail time increasing eight-fold and the maximum fine rising from $1,000 to $10,000.
Just as important, the prosecution has discretion on whether to pursue aggravated assault as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is bad enough on your record, but a felony conviction can have major implications on everything from your employability to your right to vote. You don’t want to take chances on having subpar representation if a felony charge is on the table.
What Are the Specific Penal Codes Associated with Aggravated Assault?
- PC 245a1 – Assault with a deadly weapon
- PC 245a2 – Assault with a firearm
- PC 245a4 – Assault by means likely to create severe bodily injury or death
- PC 244 – Assault with caustic chemicals
Caustic chemicals under California law are any substance that can burn or corrode living tissue. This can mean acid, bleach, or flammable substances.
Even greater penalties are possible if the assault involves a machine gun or assault weapon. If the accusing party is a police officer or firefighter, the potential penalties also are stiffer.
The Legal Defenses for Aggravated Assault Charges
It is easy to feel like everyone and everything is working against you when you are arrested and charged with an aggravated assault. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, who must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the circumstances, your defense may range from contending you did not commit the crime that occurred to arguing that no crime truly occurred.
Your legal team will assess your case and build a defense strategy around one of these arguments:
- The alleged assault was an act of self-defense or an effort to protect others. Putting the onus of what has occurred on the accuser, a self-defense or defense of others line of defense is one of the best tactics if you undeniably took part in violence toward the accuser.
- You had no intention of causing harm. Intention is an important part of establishing that an assault happened. An accident, especially absent negligence, is not an assault regardless of the degree of harm caused.
- You weren’t capable of causing injury to the accuser. In addition to intent to commit harm, having the means to do so is another stipulation of aggravated assault, which is why a weapon being possessed by the assailant is important for the prosecution to prove. If you had a firearm but it wasn’t loaded, it could be argued that your ability to cause great harm was mitigated to not warrant the aggravated assault charge.
- The charges are illegitimate, and the accused crime didn’t take place or is being misrepresented by the accuser or the prosecution. Proving no crime was committed is another path to a not-guilty verdict. However, it may be challenging if witness statements conflict or video evidence proving the lack of an assault isn’t available. On the other hand, a lack of witnesses or hard evidence can work to your benefit for establishing reasonable doubt.
Our criminal defense attorneys will dissect the facts of your case to identify the best defense for your specific circumstances.
The Charges May Involve a Domestic Violence Component
Help Yourself by Knowing Your Rights
If the police want to question you about any situation or altercation with the possibility of an assault charge, do not answer questions without a lawyer present. If you are not under arrest, you do not owe the police any explanation at all. If you are placed under arrest, make sure you are properly Mirandized and advised of your right to remain silent and then use it.
This can be especially important if you are detained or arrested at the scene of an altercation. Words said while emotions are running high may seem regrettable when they are later used as evidence in the relative sterility of a courtroom. Discussing an incident with the police in which you are being accused of assault, whether simple or aggravated, without a top Los Angeles criminal defense attorney present is a mistake.
When to Make a Deal
We are knowledgeable and aggressive advocates for our clients. Do not hire an attorney who only sees one path forward. It is vital your Los Angeles aggravated assault attorney understands every angle of the law. With our experience, we can explore opportunities for beneficial plea arrangements while maintaining the threat of an effective courtroom defense.
As your legal counsel, we will never make the decision for you as to when it is better to take a deal. We understand there are many things to consider before acknowledging guilt of any sort.
Some things to consider when the topic of a deal comes up are the ability to avoid a felony charge and plea to a misdemeanor, the potential offer of a simple assault plea rather than facing an aggravated assault, and the impact a trial could have on you and your family versus a known outcome from a deal. None of these choices are easy, but we have experience walking clients through them to make the best decision for the client, not for our bottom line.
Do not underestimate the importance of having an experienced aggravated assault attorney in defense law. The outcome of your case relies less on an encyclopedic knowledge of the law and much more on how to interpret it in light of a case’s facts. The only way to know you are hiring a top Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is if you know they have hundreds of hours in court and a track record of outcomes.
The Law Office of Stein & Markus can demonstrate that success. We practice in more than a dozen areas of law, ranging from DUI defense to homicide. Your side of the story as our client always matters to us. It’s our job to make it matter for your case. Aggravated assault is too serious a charge to leave your future to chance with an attorney whose experience doesn’t measure up.
Put a Top Los Angeles Criminal Defense Assault Lawyer in Your Corner
The early days of a criminal investigation, especially the time immediately after charges are filed, can set the tone for an entire case. At the Law Office of Stein and Markus, we see more than the allegations and formal charges. We see you, the client, and we will be relentless advocates in the justice system for you. Take a look through the words of some of the clients whose lives have been impacted by the Law Office of Stein & Markus.
If you have been accused of aggravated assault in California, contact us for a consultation on your case. We look forward to utilizing our years of successful experience to ensure you get results in your case.
Free Attorney Consultation in California Federal Crime Cases
If you are under investigation or have been charged with an aggrivated assault in California, The Law Office of Stein & Markus in Bellflower is ready to meet with you, explain your legal rights, and start building a defense for you. Arrange a free initial consultation by calling (562) 512-7030 or contact us online today.
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