California Penal Code 240 and California Penal Code 241 - Assault
Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer
California Penal Code Sections 240 defines simple assault as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. In Los Angeles, if a person is charged with the crime of assault as defined under California Penal Code 240, the criminal charges are punishable under California Penal Code section 241. California Penal Code section 241, states that assault is punishable by a fine up to $1000 or by imprisonment in Los Angeles County jail for a period of up to six months or both a fine and imprisonment. In Los Angeles County, a penalty assessment will be added to any base fine imposed by the court on a simple assault plea.
In Los Angeles, assault is filed as a separate count in a domestic violence case. In some instances, 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 violent injury. When the Defendant is charged with committing assault pursuant to Penal Code sections 240 and 241, the prosecuting lawyer must prove the following:
- The defendant did an act that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person;
- The defendant did that act willfully;
- When the defendant acted, he or she was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that his or her act by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone;
- When the defendant acted, he or she had the present ability to apply force to a person; and
- The defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of someone else.
To satisfy the element of willfulness for assault, the prosecuting lawyer must prove that the assault was purposeful and not accidental and was not self-defense or defense of others. For example, in a domestic violence case, if the defendant was attempting to protect his child because he or she knew the alleged victim was going to hurt the child, and the defendant acted in an abrupt manner to protect the child, the defendant may have acted in defense of the child. Another example would be during a heated domestic violence argument where the defendant is holding an object and the object accidently flies out of the defendant's hands as the defendant is gesturing with his hands. In such instances, the Defendant needs a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to evaluate the facts and form an adequate defense against the assault charges.
In California, in order for the prosecuting lawyer to satisfy the elements of assault as defined under Penal Code 240 and 241, it is not required for the prosecuting lawyer to prove that the defendant intended to break the law or to hurt someone else or gain any advantage. In order to prove assault, the prosecuting attorney is not required to prove that the defendant actually touched someone and the prosecuting attorney also 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 attorney does not need to prove that someone was actually injured by the defendant's act. The prosecuting lawyer only needs to prove that the defendant intended to cause the slightest touching in a rude or angry way.
Some possible defenses that may be presented by the defense attorney to an assault charge are:
- Defendant acted in self-defense and the victim was the initial aggressor;
- Defendant acted to defend another person;
- Defendant's conduct was accidental and not willful;
- Defendant's act was not likely to cause a touching;
- Defendant did not do the act willfully; and
- Defendant lacked the present ability to commit assault.
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 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 for a free criminal defense consultation.