When a person was in an altercation here in California with another, they don’t have to have been accused of having made violent physical contact with the other person to potentially face charges. This is because, under California law, an attempt to inflict physical violence can be a criminal offense, even if no such violence was ultimately inflicted.
In state law, the offense of assault covers unlawful attempted physical violence against another. Now, not all such attempts qualify as assault. Under state law, for such an attempt to be assault, the person engaging in the attempt has to have had the present ability to commit the attempted physical violence.
Skilled defense lawyers can give individuals accused of assault here in California guidance on building their defense. They can advise them on key issues in their case, such as issues regarding evidence touching on whether the elements of assault were met. What defense guidance an assault suspect gets can matter quite a bit, as a conviction on assault charges can have substantial consequences for a person.
For example, a sentence for assault can include jail time and a fine. Generally, here in California, the charge of assault carries a maximum jail sentence of six months and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, certain circumstances could up the maximum fine and/or jail time that could be given for an assault offense. Examples include if the assault was committed against certain people (such as a police officer) or in certain places (such as a school).
Source: California Legislative Information, “Penal Code - CHAPTER 9. Assault and Battery [240 - 248],” Accessed Feb. 1, 2017