Being charged with assault or battery in California can understandably be frightening and humiliating. After all, a conviction related to these crimes can lead to time behind bars and make it difficult to land jobs in the future. However, just because you face charges associated with these crimes does not mean you are automatically guilty. In reality, you are presumed innocent until and unless your guilt is proved in a court of law.
When you think of assault and battery, you may immediately think of a brawl or fight. However, confusion often exists between these two acts, which are actually two separate crimes. The former refers to attempting to cause injury to another person. Meanwhile, the latter involves actually making contact with that person in an offensive or harmful manner. Still, both are related.
Contact is not necessary for this type of crime to take place. In fact, it can even include simply threatening others, although spoken words by themselves are not enough to constitute assault unless you back them up with actions that make your victim reasonably fearful of suffering imminent harm.
Contact is necessary for this type of crime to take place. It is essentially touching another person in a harmful and offensive way without the other's consent. Examples of such an act include striking a person or spitting on another party. No intent to cause harm is generally required to commit such acts, although intent usually does exist in cases involving battery.
How can an attorney help with an assault or battery charge?
If you are facing either of these types of charges, an attorney in California can help by first investigating your case completely. Your attorney will work closely with you to pursue a path for getting prosecutors to drop your charges entirely. This may involve re-interviewing witnesses and studying the alleged scene of the crime, for example.
In some situations involving the crimes of assault and battery, seeking to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution may be the best course of action to take depending on the strength of the evidence that prosecutors intend to furnish in court. A plea agreement may lead to a lighter sentence than what would be imposed following a finding of guilt at trial. Either way, your attorney will ensure that your relevant rights remain protected at all stages of the criminal proceedings.