California Penal Code 240 & 241 defines simple assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with the present ability, to commit a violent injury on an another individual. In Los Angeles, if a person is charged with assault pursuant to California Penal Code 240 &241, a person may face a fine up to $1000 or by imprisonment in Los Angeles county jail for a period of up to six months or both. In Los Angeles County, a penalty assessment will be included to any base fine imposed by the court on a simple assault plea.
In Los Angeles, simple assault is filed as a separate count in a domestic violence situation. In certain circumstances, the Defendant may have gotten into an argument with his or her spouse or significant other, and during that argument, one of the parties may have acted in such a fashion that may be interpreted as an unlawful attempt to commit a harmful injury upon the person of another. When the Defendant is charged with assault pursuant to Penal Code sections 240 and 241, the prosecuting attorney must prove the following 5 elements of the crime to satisfy their burden:
1. The defendant’s act was a direct and probable result in the application of force to a another;
2. The defendant’s act was willfully;
3. The defendant was aware of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize the defendant’s act would directly and probably result in the application of force to another;
4. The defendant had the present ability to apply the unlawful force; and
5. The defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another.
The prosecuting attorney must prove that the assault was purposeful and not accidental and was not a product of self-defense or defense of another person. For example, in a domestic violence case, if the defendant was attempting to protect a family member because he or she knew the alleged victim was going to hurt the family member, the defendant’s act may have been for the defense of another. Another example would be during a heated domestic violence argument, an object accidently flies out of the defendant’s hands as the defendant is gesturing with his or her hands. In such instances, the Defendant needs a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to prepare an adequate defense for the Defendant.
In California, the prosecuting attorney is not required to prove that the defendant intended to break the law or to hurt someone else or gain any advantage. The prosecuting attorney needs to show that the defendant actually intended to touch someone willfully and is not required to prove that the defendant actually intended to use force against someone when he or she acted. To satisfy the elements of assault as defined under California Penal Code 240 and 241, the prosecuting lawyer does not need to prove that someone was actually injured by the defendant's act. The prosecuting attorney only needs to prove that the defendant intended to cause the slightest touching in a rude or angry manner.
The Defendant does have defenses in an assault case for violation of Penal Code 240 & 241. Some applicable defenses are the following:
1. Defendant acted in self-defense;
2. Defendant acted to defend another person;
3. Defendant’s conduct was not willful;
4. Defendant’s act was not likely to cause a touching;
5. Defendant’s act was accidental;
6. Defendant lacked the present ability to commit assault; and
7. The victim lied, exaggerated, or consented to Defendant’s act.
In Los Angeles County, assault charges (Penal Code Sections 240 and 241) are routinely filed as an additional count in domestic violence cases throughout the several Los Angeles county courthouses, including but no limited to, Alhambra, Airport, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Torrance, Van Nuys , and West Covina Courthouse. If you have been arrested or charged with assault in violation of California Penal Code section 240 and Penal Code section 241, call attorney Arthur Khachatourians at 818-590-8294 for a free criminal defense consultation.