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When is assault “aggravated?”

If you become involved in an altercation in Fullerton, there is a possibility that you could end up facing assault charges (unless your actions were solely in response to another’s aggression). Yet as is the case with many criminal charges, the application of assault charges to your case is rarely simple. You will, however, want to understand the details of California’s assault and battery laws to ensure that you are only charged with those offenses that your alleged actions may have warranted. 

This is especially true in cases of assault, where law enforcement officers have the option of labeling the assault as “aggravated.” What exactly causes an alleged assault charge to be aggravated? The answer can be found in Section 245 of California’s Penal Code

Here, it states that any of the following actions may net a charge of aggravated assault: 

  • An assault with a deadly weapon (including a firearm)
  • An assault carried out with a semiautomatic firearm or a machine gun
  • An assault carried out with means of force likely to cause great bodily injury
  • An assault carried out against one that a person knows (or should reasonably know) is a police office, firefighter or other type of police officer

What exactly is the difference between assault and aggravated assault? As is the adjective implies, aggravated assault is considered to be much more serious, and thus is accompanied by more serious penalties. Whereas a simple assault charge can carry with a prison sentence of as little as six months, and aggravated assault charge could put you in jail (if you are convicted) for as long as 12 years.

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