California law defines the term assault as follows- an attempt to cause violent injury to someone. We can deduct from the definition that the victim does not need to get severe injuries for criminal liability to exist-thus. Significant harm is not a requirement for the crime to exist.
California law distinguishes between different types of assaults, which have their specific elements of the crime. For instance, there are separate sections for assault with a firearm, assault with caustic chemicals, etc.
Further, we will examine one assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
Penal Code 245 (a) (4) PC-assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury
Under Penal Code Section 245 (a) (4) the type of assault is defined as using force, which can result in causing great bodily injuries to a victim.
As described above, this type of assault is only an attempt to conduct a violent injury on someone. Penalties under violation of this section can also occur in case the injury has not an accident.
If we combine the elements and characteristics of this section, we can conclude that assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury is:
- a willful, malicious act,
- violent injuries with force
Definition of great bodily injury
One of the main elements which distinguish this assault from other types under the Penal Code of California is causing great bodily injuries. Thus, it is essential to understand which injuries can be classified as those.
Great bodily injury is a substantial and significant cause to the victim. Though the court determines whether a damage is “great” on a case-by-case basis. Breaking the victim’s bones, gunshot wounds, and nervous system damage are all common examples. The severity of the actions, resulting from physical pain, and the need for immediate medical assistance for the victim are all factors that will help the court when determining whether the injury is “great”. The harm that this injury causes shall be more than just minor or moderate harm to the victim’s body-traumas shall be major. The term “great bodily injuries” refers to serious bodily harm. Any financial losses or emotional traumas caused by actions conducted by a criminal cannot amount to a great bodily injury.
Penalties for violation of this section
Assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury can include both as felony and misdemeanor under California Law. Depending on the facts of the case, the classification and sanctions may differ. The accused’s criminal background, as well as the consequences of his or her actions.
In the event that the actions are classified as a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty may be up to one year in a country jail or a fine of not more than $10,000. In case the crime is a felony, the penalties may be imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years.
Possible legal defenses
An essential element for this type of assault is that the actions are likely to cause namely great bodily injury. Thus the accused can prove that the possibility for exactly great bodily injuries to occur was little. For example, in case one threw an item on a victim that had little weight, the person can’t be sustain injuries from this action.
Another possibility to defend from the penalties is to try to prove that the actions were conducted as self-defense. Thus the act was conducted willfully but there was no intent to cause great bodily injury to anyone.
Glendale Personal Injury Lawyer
These are possibilities in theory that can help with your defense, however, it is essential to have a professional lawyer to assist you and try to mitigate the penalties. If you have any questions, contact our Glendale personal injury lawyer today for a consultation and case review. Please feel free to give our office a call at 310.943.1171.