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Assault and Battery

The terms “assault” and “battery” refer to two, separate and distinct crimes in the state of California and should not be thought of as interchangeable.

Battery

When you initially think of the word “battery,” it may conjure up images in your mind of a bloody beating involving serious injury and the need for immediate medical attention. While that scenario certainly qualifies as one example of a “battery”, there are many other instances in which a person may find themselves facing criminal battery charges under far less egregious circumstances. In California, “battery” is broadly defined as the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against another person. Even the slightest touching can be enough to constitute a battery, if it is done in a rude, disrespectful, or angry manner. For example, even a simple push on the shoulder may amount to a criminal battery if the other person is offended by the conduct. In fact, making any contact whatsoever with another person, even if it is just on their clothing or with something else that they are carrying or wearing at the time, can also be result in criminal battery charges. For example, yanking on a purse that someone is holding, or pulling on a backpack that someone is wearing, can be enough to constitute a battery. This is true even in cases where the other person suffers absolutely no injury whatsoever! It is important to remember that causing injury or pain to the alleged victim is not required in order to be convicted of battery.

In many cases, criminal battery charges arise out of unfortunate circumstances involving emotionally charged situations that are rife with misunderstanding and misinterpretation. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to overreact. In these instances, we understand that you may feel compelled to personally reach out to the alleged victim and talk about the details of the situation that transpired or what has happened in the aftermath. This is especially true in cases where the person facing criminal battery charges and the alleged victim know each other or had any type of pre-existing relationship with one another. Although it may be a difficult temptation to resist, personally contacting the alleged victim in a criminal case is generally NOT an advisable course of action and rarely, if ever, helpful to resolving your criminal case in a manner that is favorable to you. Personal contact is absolutely forbidden under the law in cases where a “no contact” criminal protective order is in place, or where certain temporary and/or permanent restraining orders have issued. Facilitating contact with the alleged victim under these circumstances can be quite damaging not only to the current case, but it could also subject you to further penalties and additional criminal charges being filed against you.

At the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC, we understand that mistakes happen, and we firmly believe everyone is entitled to vigorous, competent and compassionate legal representation. We also understand that the criminal process can be daunting and confusing. In many cases, there are often huge discrepancies between what people think the law is, what they think the law should be, and the reality of what the law truly is. That’s why we are committed to keeping you fully informed throughout the legal process as we work to strategically develop and prepare your defense, with a keen eye toward achieving the most favorable outcome possible for you.

Do not to try to fight “the system” alone. You need a well-qualified and experienced attorney who will objectively and critically evaluate your case, provide sound guidance, and ensure that your constitutional and statutory rights are being protected at every turn, regardless of how minor or serious your situation may be.

Remember that the legal issues relevant to your case are best identified and addressed early on by a qualified Murrieta defense lawyer. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with battery in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Simple Battery

“Simple battery” is a misdemeanor offense and is usually charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 242. This carries a maximum possible sentence of six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus court costs. You may be required to take a specified number of anger management classes, and there is also a very strong likelihood that a criminal protective order will be issued against you during the pendency of the legal proceedings and after the case is resolved.

At first blush, the consequences of suffering a misdemeanor conviction and the penalties associated with a simple battery charge may not sound like the end of the world, but don’t let the word “simple” fool you! You absolutely cannot afford to underestimate the widespread implications that this type of conviction could have in your life and for your future. First and foremost, simple battery is considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means that if convicted, you may also face adverse collateral consequences related to your immigration status, as well as any professional licenses you may be required to have in order to maintain your employment. Even if you are not required to maintain a professional license in order to earn your livelihood, it is common in today’s world for reputable employers to run background checks on individuals who work for them, and those they are considering hiring. As such, even a misdemeanor criminal conviction for simple battery could impact your ability to maintain your current employment and your ability to obtain more lucrative employment opportunities in the future.

A criminal conviction for simple battery will also have significant bearing on your right to own and/or possess firearms and ammunition. Pursuant to Proposition 63, which was passed in 2016, Penal Code section 29810 now outlines the rules and regulations pertaining to the identification and relinquishment of firearms and ammunition following criminal convictions for all felony offenses, and certain misdemeanor crimes, including simple battery. Failure to adhere to these policies and procedures can result in additional criminal charges and penalties.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with battery in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury/Aggravated Battery

“Battery causing serious bodily injury”, also known as “aggravated battery, is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. “Seriously bodily injury” refers to a serious impairment of a person’s physical condition, including, but not limited to broken bones, concussions, loss of consciousness, injuries requiring extensive suturing, and the like. This offense is generally charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 243, subdivision (d).

As a misdemeanor, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus court costs. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum of four years in county jail pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h) and a fine of up to $10,000, plus court costs. The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the egregiousness of the alleged conduct involved; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history, if any. These same three factors will also have a significant impact on what the precise criminal penalties will be in each case.

In many instances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony battery causing serious bodily injury charges, they may also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted, this allegation adds an additional minimum of three years to the original custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. If admitted or found to be true, this allegation also has the effect of making the underlying conviction a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. This means that unless you are granted probation in the current case, you will be sentenced to serve your custody term in the state prison as opposed to county jail, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h). Having a strike on your record also carries the collateral consequence of potentially doubling any sentence you may receive in conjunction with any other felony convictions that may occur in the future. This is true even if you later apply to have the underlying conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, et seq., and that request is granted. If the expunged conviction is a “strike” offense, it will still count as a strike for purposes of enhanced punishment in the future.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with aggravated battery in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Assault

“Assault” is broadly defined as an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury upon another person. A person can be guilty of an assault, even if he/she never even made physical contact with the alleged victim. An example of an assault would be a situation where someone swings a baseball bat at another person but has poor aim and doesn’t make physical contact with the person. This is an assault, even though the alleged victim was not actually touched, and suffered no pain or physical injury as a result of the conduct.

This is just one, very simplified example of what can constitute a criminal assault. It is important to understand that criminal assault cases absolutely run the gamut. These cases range in severity from very minor to gravely serious conduct. As such, the range of potential consequences and punishments that may be imposed as a result of any assault-related criminal conviction, are equally vast.

Assault-related cases often present technical and legal issues that need to be understood and deserve to be explored in order to understand how best to proceed with your case. Because the circumstances of these cases vary so much, it is important to have a well-qualified and experienced attorney who will objectively and critically evaluate your case, provide sound guidance, and ensure that your constitutional and statutory rights are being protected at every turn, regardless of how minor or serious your situation may be. There is simply too much at stake to risk going into any kind of assault-related criminal proceedings alone.

At the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC, we firmly believe everyone is entitled to vigorous, competent and compassionate legal representation. We also understand that the criminal process can be daunting and confusing. In many cases, there are often huge discrepancies between what people think the law is or what they think the law should be, and the reality of what the law truly is. That’s why we are committed to keeping you fully informed throughout the legal process as we work to strategically develop and prepare your defense, with a keen eye toward achieving the most favorable outcome possible for you.

Do not to try to fight “the system” alone. Remember that the legal issues relevant to your case are best identified and addressed early on by a qualified Murrieta defense lawyer. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with assault in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Simple Assault

“Simple assault” is a misdemeanor offense and is usually charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 240. This carries a maximum possible sentence of six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus court costs. You may be required to take a specified number of anger management classes, and there is also a very strong likelihood that a criminal protective order will be issued against you during the pendency of the legal proceedings and after the case is resolved.

At first blush, the consequences of suffering a misdemeanor conviction and the penalties associated with a simple assault charge may not sound like the end of the world, but don’t let the word “simple” fool you! You absolutely cannot afford to underestimate the widespread implications that this type of conviction could have in your life and for your future. First and foremost, simple assault is considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means that if convicted, you may also face adverse collateral consequences related to your immigration status, as well as any professional licenses you may be required to have in order to maintain your employment. Even if you are not required to maintain a professional license in order to earn your livelihood, it is common in today’s world for reputable employers to run background checks on individuals who work for them, and those they are considering hiring. As such, even a misdemeanor criminal conviction for simple assault could impact your ability to maintain your current employment and your ability to obtain more lucrative employment opportunities in the future.

A criminal conviction for simple assault will also have significant bearing on your right to own and/or possess firearms and ammunition. Pursuant to Proposition 63, which was passed in 2016, Penal Code section 29810 now outlines the rules and regulations pertaining to the identification and relinquishment of firearms and ammunition following criminal convictions for all felony offenses, and certain misdemeanor crimes, including simple assault. Failure to adhere to these policies and procedures can result in additional criminal charges and penalties.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with assault in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon

“Assault with a deadly weapon” is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. A “deadly weapon” can be any object, instrument, or weapon used in a manner that makes it likely to cause death or great bodily injury – including, but not limited to, guns (whether loaded or unloaded), knives, glass bottles, vehicles, rocks, and the like. This offense is generally charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (1).

As a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (1), carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in county jail. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of four years in state prison.

The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the type of weapon and circumstances involving the alleged assault; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history, if any. These same three factors will also have a significant impact on what the precise criminal penalties will be in each case.

Under some circumstances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony assault with a deadly weapon charges, they may also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted of this allegation, this adds an additional minimum of three years to the original custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. Having a strike on your record also carries the collateral consequence of potentially doubling any sentence you may receive in conjunction with any other felony convictions that may occur in the future. This is true even if you later apply to have the underlying conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, et seq., and that request is granted. If the expunged conviction is a “strike” offense, it will still count as a strike for purposes of enhanced punishment in the future.

The penalties only get more severe from this point, especially in cases where firearms are alleged to have been used in the commission of the assault. Cases involving assaults with firearms are typically filed by prosecuting agencies as violations of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (2), and are discussed in more detail in a separate section below.

Assaults involving no weapons other than the person’s “hands and feet”, do not qualify as “deadly weapons” pursuant to this statute. Cases involving assaults with “hands and feet” are typically filed by prosecuting agencies as violations of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (4), and are discussed in more details in a separate section below.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Assault with a Firearm

“Assault with a firearm” is a generally a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. This offense is typically charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (2).

As a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code section 245 subdivision (a), subsection (2) can be punished by six months to one year in county jail. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of four years in state prison.

The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the type of weapon and circumstances involving the alleged assault; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history. These same three factors will also have a significant impact on what the precise criminal penalties will be in each case.

Under some circumstances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony assault with a deadly weapon charges, they may also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted of this allegation, this adds an additional minimum of three years to the original custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. Having a strike on your record also carries the collateral consequence of potentially doubling any sentence you may receive in conjunction with any other felony convictions that may occur in the future. This is true even if you later apply to have the underlying conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, et seq., and that request is granted. If the expunged conviction is a “strike” offense, it will still count as a strike for purposes of enhanced punishment in the future.

Assault with a firearm may also be a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law in felony cases where the perpetrator personally used a firearm in the commission of the crime, or if the assault with a deadly weapon was committed against a peace officer. It is significant to note that assault cases involving machine guns, assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles and/or semiautomatic firearms, are always charged as felonies in California. In such cases, the potential state prison exposure can range anywhere between three and twelve years, depending on the type of firearm involved. These crimes are also strike offenses pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with assault with a firearm in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Assault by Means of Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury

“Assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury” is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. This offense is typically charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (4).

As a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (4), carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000, plus court costs. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of four years in state prison.

The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the egregiousness of the conduct involved in the alleged assault; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history. These same three factors will also have a significant impact on what the precise criminal penalties will be in each case.

Under some circumstances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury charges, they may also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted of this allegation, this adds an additional minimum of three years to the original custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. Having a strike on your record also carries the collateral consequence of potentially doubling any sentence you may receive in conjunction with any other felony convictions that may occur in the future. This is true even if you later apply to have the underlying conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, et seq., and that request is granted. If the expunged conviction is a “strike” offense, it will still count as a strike for purposes of enhanced punishment in the future.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is imperative that you act swiftly and smartly by hiring an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with the rules, common practices and procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction where you are facing criminal charges. As a former prosecutor at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California for the better part of fifteen years, Ms. Baldwin has worked hard to establish her reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable and effective advocate and looks forward to the privilege of putting her skills and experience to work of you.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.