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Assault Attorney

Serving Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties

Assault is an unlawful attempt coupled with a present ability to commit an injury to another person. Battery is any willful, unlawful use of force or violence on another.

An assault can be characterized as an attempt to commit a battery and can actually occur without the battery; every battery, however, includes an assault. In California, there is no such offense known as attempt to assault. Also, strictly speaking, battery does not have to be violent; the force does not need to cause bodily harm or even leave a mark.

What California Law Says About Assault & Battery

There are many statutes created by the California Legislature that deal with different types of assault and battery. Basically, assaults and batteries are classified by:

  1. Specific means such as assaults with chemicals or drugs;
  2. Specific people such as assaults by convicts;
  3. Where they take place such as assaults on school grounds;
  4. The victims that are affected such as a spouse or fellow parent; and
  5. Specific laws designed to prevent violence against public safety providers such as police officers, school security officers, firemen, jail personnel, EMTs, or lifeguards.

Types of Assault Charges We Defend

Ronald Dinan & Associates​ helps with the following assault-related charges:

  • Spousal Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Violation of Probation
  • Failure to Appear in Court
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Child Abuse

Domestic Violence Information

The most common assault and battery charge involves domestic violence.

Domestic violence battery can be committed against the following:

  • Spouse, former spouse, or fiancée
  • Person with whom the defendant is cohabitating
  • Person who is the parent of the defendant's child
  • Person who whom the defendant currently is, or was, dating or engaged to

This can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Defenses to Assault & Battery Charges

Defenses to an assault or battery charge are many and varied and, generally, depend upon the circumstances that existed at the time of the incident.

Some examples of legal defenses to an assault and/or battery charge:

  • Involuntary intoxication, where someone's drink is spiked with alcohol or drugs.

  • Automatism or unconsciousness may also be a defense. Some lawyers have recently been arguing this the state of mind that people may suffer by using Ambien.

  • Ignorance of the law is not a defense nor is, generally, a mistake of law. However, a mistake of fact can be a defense if it negates or cancels criminal intent or knowledge.

  • Self-defense may also be a justification for acts that would otherwise be considered criminal. Generally, for a successful self-defense argument, there must be an apparent necessity for the action, the force must be reasonable under the prevailing circumstances, and the threatened act against someone must be unlawful. Generally, there is no required need to retreat and an individual may stand their ground.

  • A defense to an assault may also arise in circumstances of defending property (such as a home), an attempt to prevent and preserve the peace or the apprehension of a criminal.

Regarding domestic violence charges, defenses include denial of the alleged violence, self-defense, and, characterization of any violence as either accidental (as opposed to intentional) or as necessary to get away from someone who is using or threatening violence.

If you have been charged in an assault case, your best decision is to contact a skilled defense lawyer. Our practice concentrates in the counties of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt. To speak with an attorney, call us today!
Ronald Dinan & Associates, Attorneys & Lawyers, Santa Rosa, CA