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    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

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    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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San Bernardino Assault Attorney

Have you been arrested and charged with assault? This is a violent crime under California law that can come with harsh penalties. Your future and your freedoms are on the line. It is imperative that you take action to clear your name or risk the fallout of a conviction.

Make sure you obtain a reputable San Bernardino assault attorney. Call the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath to start building a powerful defense strategy and move forward with your life. 

Contact our Riverside office at 951-667-5293 or our Orange County office at 714-758-5293 to schedule your confidential consultation today. 

Types of Assault in San Bernardino 

Under CA Penal Code § 240, in order to be convicted of assault, the state’s prosecutor will need to show that you intentionally attempted to cause someone else physical injury, or that you made threats or acted in a menacing way and caused another person to believe that they were about to be physically harmed.

This means that there does not actually need to be any physical contact for an assault charge to stick. There are many different types of assault and assault-related crimes that you could be charged within San Bernardino. 

Depending on the details of your case, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony assault charges. Some of the more common types of assault charges you could be facing include:

  • Simple Assault – Simple assault is the most common type of assault charge. Under CA Penal Code § 241.1, threatening to physically injure someone, with an action that shows an intent to carry out the threat, and attempted assault are all grounds for a simple assault charge.
  • Wobbler Assault Crimes – A wobbler crime is any type of crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the details of your case. Generally, if there are aggravating factors present, it is more likely that you will face felony charges. There are many different types of crimes that could be considered wobblers. Some common types of assault that are wobbler crimes include an assault against a school district police officer, an assault against a corrections officer, and an assault against a juror.
  • Assault With a Deadly Weapon – Assault with a deadly weapon is also commonly referred to as aggravated assault. This occurs when there is an attempt or infliction of severe bodily harm while using a deadly weapon. This could be a gun, a hammer, a knife, a rock, or any other type of lethal weapon. 
  • Simple Battery – While an assault includes the attempt to physically harm another person, battery is the act of physically harming another person. An example of battery could be punching someone in the face during an argument, or physically striking them with an object.
  • Wobbler battery – If you have been accused of battery against a juror, public worker or healthcare provider, police officer, school employee, or other public worker, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony or based on the circumstances of your case.
  • Assault with a firearm – Under California PC 245a2, If you point a loaded gun at someone, shoot at someone with a gun, you can be charged with assault with a firearm. This is considered a violent firearm offense, and you will likely be charged with a felony.

These are only a few of the more common types of assault charges you could face in San Bernardino. If you have been charged with another type of assault or battery and you need to start working on your defense, reach out to our office to discuss your assault charges further.

Penalties For an Assault Conviction in San Bernardino

The penalties that you will face if you are found guilty of an assault charge in San Bernardino can vary widely. The consequences will be based upon several factors, such as:

  • Whether you have a criminal history
  • Whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony or assault crime
  • Whether you have shown remorse
  • Whether someone else was seriously injured
  • The type of assault crime you have been charged with

Under Cal. Penal Code § 241, for a simple assault conviction, you could expect to spend up to one year in jail and pay fines as high as $2,000 depending on the specific circumstances of your case. But if you were charged with a wobbler crime, this jail time could increase to as much as three years.

Assault with a deadly weapon carries some of the harshest penalties. Again, the specific details of your case will determine your exact penalties. However, in the worst situations, you could spend up to 12 years in prison and be ordered to pay fines as high as $10,000. 

Of course, if this is your third strike under California’s Three-Strike Law, you may be ordered to spend as much as 25 years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.

Consequences Of a San Bernardino Battery Conviction 

Battery charges in San Bernardino also carry severe penalties. Under Cal. Penal Code § 243, if you are charged with a misdemeanor simple battery, you could expect to spend up to six months in county jail and the order to pay fines as high as $2,000. 

However, this could become enhanced in cases of domestic violence battery, battery against a public worker or healthcare provider, or battery on school property. If this happens, you could be ordered to spend up to one year in county jail in addition to your $2,000 fine.

If you were charged with a wobbler battery crime, you could be ordered to spend as much as three years in county jail or state prison, based on the aggravating factors in your case. Additionally, your fines could be as high as $10,000 if you are charged with felony battery.

Other Criminal Penalties for a Criminal Assault Conviction

But jail time in fines are not the only consequences you will face if you are found guilty of assault in San Bernardino. In addition to any imprisonment and fines, you could also expect to have to deal with the following criminal penalties:

  • Completion of drug or alcohol treatment
  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Completion of court-ordered mental health counseling
  • Completion of court-ordered anger management treatment
  • Random drug and alcohol testing
  • Restitution for victims

Collateral Consequences Of a Guilty Verdict for Assault in San Bernardino 

Criminal penalties aside, there are countless collateral consequences you may already be experiencing after being accused of assault in San Bernardino. Some of the more common collateral consequences of assault convictions include:

  • Temporary loss of voting rights
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Child custody or visitation issues
  • Immigration and citizenship issues
  • Trouble finding affordable and safe housing
  • Difficulty finding gainful employment
  • Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
  • Disqualification from federal student aid

For many people who have been convicted of assault charges, the collateral consequences are far worse than the criminal ones. Make sure you prioritize your future by retaining a strong San Bernardino assault lawyer to advocate for your liberties.

Defending Your San Bernardino Assault Case 

As you prepare to defend your case, your attorney will need to carefully review all of the evidence to determine which defense strategy is most likely to result in an acquittal or other favorable outcome. 

With that being said, it may not always be in your best interests to bring your case to trial. For example, if you are a first-time offender, you may benefit more from seeking admittance to a pre-trial diversion program.

Working out a plea agreement with the state prosecutor could be the best way to secure your future. Of course, this may not be true for every case. But your assault lawyer’s careful analysis will determine which path is advised.

Pre-trial Diversion Programs and Options for First-Time Offenders in San Bernardino 

Pre-trial diversion programs are often available to first time offenders and individuals who may be struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. In many cases, being sent to jail or prison in order to pay exorbitant fines does little to help rehabilitate someone struggling in their lives. In fact, this is exactly what ends up forcing people into becoming habitual offenders.

Some of the different pre-trial diversion programs that you may be eligible for include:

  • Veterans Court
  • Drug Court
  • The Rehabilitation, Intervention, Support, and Education (“RISE”) Program
  • Mental Health Diversion
  • Mental Health Court

If you meet the eligibility requirements to enter into one of these pre-trial diversion programs, you will be required to complete the terms of these programs in order to avoid having to move forward with the criminal assault charges against you. 

Once you have completed the terms of your pre-trial diversion program, the charges against you may be reduced or dismissed, and you will be able to move on with your life.

Common San Bernardino Assault Defenses

In some cases, it does not make sense to pursue a pre-trial diversion program or a lesser offense. In these cases, you will want to pursue a strong legal defense. 

When you have been accused of assault in San Bernardino, there are many defenses that may be available to you. Some of the more common defenses against assault and battery charges include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • False accusations 
  • Self-defense
  • Lack of assault
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Defense of property or others
  • Prevention of a crime
  • Consent for the physical “harm” in question
  • Acting in duress or by necessity

What to Expect From Your Assault Trial in San Bernardino

If your assault trial is going to court, you may be worried and unsure of what to expect from the entire process. Here is what you can expect to happen from your assault case from the time of your arrest:

  1. After you have been arrested, you will make an initial appearance at a hearing where you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty and the conditions of your bill will be set. 
  2. Your next hearing is known as the omnibus hearing. Here, the prosecution will be presenting evidence to provide probable cause for the assault charges against you. Your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed at this point if we can show that the state does not have this requisite evidence. 
  3. Next, it will be time to discuss plea agreements, where applicable. If we can enter into a plea agreement, your case may be resolved based on the terms of this plea arrangement.
  4. If your case goes to trial, you will have the option of having your case heard before a jury or a judge. Once you have made this decision, your case will go to trial.
  5. The state will present their evidence against you, and your defense lawyer will present your defense strategy in order to secure an acquittal.
  6. The jury or a judge will review the evidence and make a decision in your case. If you are found guilty and sentenced to time in jail or prison, you can expect to be taken into custody immediately. Depending on the details of your case, you may be subject to electronic home monitoring until you are required to turn yourself in at a later time.

San Bernardino Assault FAQ

Assault accusations can turn your life upside down. You likely have many unanswered questions about the assault or battery charges against you. Here are some of the answers to the top questions our former clients have had regarding their assault charges. 

If you have additional questions that were not answered here, do not hesitate to contact our office so we can discuss your specific assault charge questions further.

What is the difference between assault and battery?

The difference between assault and battery is that assault can include the attempt to commit a violent injury to another person, whereas a battery charge involves the actual physical act or force of violence against another person. 

If there was an attempt to use force, but this attempt was unsuccessful, then you could not be charged with battery. Instead, you would face assault charges.

What is criminal negligence?

Under CALCRIM No. 253, criminal negligence occurs when the defendant acts in a way that is reckless and causes a risk of injury or death to someone else. For example, someone who was charged with drunk driving may face criminal negligence charges. 

They may have not had any intention of hurting or killing someone when they became intoxicated, but they more than likely did understand the implications that come with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Get Help From an Assault Attorney in San Bernardino 

Assault charge convictions carry severe criminal penalties and collateral consequences. Present the strongest defense possible so you can clear your name and put this experience behind you. 

Schedule your confidential consultation with an experienced San Bernardino assault lawyer at the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath today. You can reach us by completing our secured contact form, calling our Orange County office at 714-758-5293 or our Riverside office at 951-667-5293 to get started.