Vista criminal attorney has built a reputation for itself as being among one of the most sought-after law firms in California. Not only do we provide top of the line criminal defense but also seasoned defense lawyers for our clients seeking legal representation in a court of law on assault charges. In the unfortunate event that you find yourself as the offender or victim of an assault, you will need all the information you can find regarding the said offense in preparation for your court date.
What are Caustic Chemicals Under California Law?
A chemical can be termed as a substance that has been either prepared artificially, purified artificially, or in some cases both. It is of importance to note that a chemical can exist either as a liquid, solid or even as a gas. Caustic chemicals, on the other hand, are defined as substances that can cause damage or burn through, by means of chemical action. The state of California under Penal Code 244 PC identifies caustic chemicals as general substances that can burn or corrode living tissue. In addition, some caustic chemicals could also be inflammable substances.
One of the substances that are referred to as a corrosive chemical under Penal Code 244 PC in the state of California is vitriol. This particularly denotes acids containing Sulfur and most of their compounds. In addition to petrol and other fuel products, any inflammable liquid with an absolute zero of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or less is considered a corrosive chemical. Absolute zero or rather boiling point, in this case, pertains to the lowest degree at which the vapor of a given substance can catch fire. This means that the lower the boiling point of a given chemical substance, the easier to ignite it gets.
Many caustic chemicals are easily available since most people use them regularly for different domestic usages. Some are more harmful than others whereby they can cause irreversible harm to one’s body if handled without care. Substances that happen to be more concentrated can even injure your internal organs if left in contact with your skin for an extended period. It is highly advisable that you first seek medical care in the tragic event that you come into direct contact with a corrosive chemical.
What Counts as Assault with Corrosive Chemicals in Regard to California Law?
Under Civil Code 244, California assault law describes assault with corrosive substances as the act where an individual intentionally and viciously hurls or places, or causes to be hurled or placed on another person any acidic matter, inflammable material or caustic chemical of any kind with the aim of wounding or deforming the other individual’s body.
For a crime to be termed as an assault with corrosive substances and set apart from a simple assault, a prosecutor needs to prove to the court beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:
Made their move with intention and malice. By acting willfully, it means that the respondent acted deliberately or on purpose without coercion and knew what they were doing. Malicious actions, on the other hand, refer to the offender acting with criminal intentions in order to inflict wounds or other bodily harm to another individual.
Hurled or placed, or caused to be hurled or placed, any corrosive or flammable substance on the supposed casualty’s body. Threw or placed go-ahead to show the premeditated physical movements that have several explanations to show any kind of physical activity that might culminate in the maltreatment taking place. By causing the throwing or placing of a corrosive chemical without the defendant being primarily involved does very little when it comes to changing the legal importance of the case. Regardless of the exact deed that was carried out or how they did it, if the offender had intended to cause harm, they are more than likely to be convicted for the felony.
The term, on another person, as applied in a section of Penal Code 224 is legal lingo that translates to one’s entire body and the clothes that they have on them. If an individual was to encounter any bodily harm brought about by caustic chemicals, the said chemicals had to come into physical touch with the said plaintiff’s body.
By clearly stating that any acidic matter, inflammable material or caustic chemical of any kind, ensure that acids containing Sulfur, its compounds as well as all other caustic substances of any kind are bound by this legal characterization.
Acted with the intent to wound or deform the alleged victim’s body. The only way to show that the charges are fitting of the crime committed is by emphasizing on the element of intent which is quite evident in this case. A defendant could get away with serious harm inflicted on another using corrosive substances but only under the circumstances that:
- it was all accidental, and no party intended harm for the other,
- a physical conflict took place where the offender had no prior knowledge of the chemical’s existence, or
- the said claimant made a move that saw them get injured by the caustic substances.
Again, the defendant must have had the aim of wounding or deforming the other individual’s body. This now brings the offenders realization of the chemicals as well as their problem-solving skills at the time of the said act to question.
Assault with corrosive substances counts as a felony in the state of California, which means the offender gets slapped with jail time or both jail time and a hefty penalty. If the accused is found accountable for assault with caustic substances, they are likely to serve two (2) to four (4) years in prison. The number of years one might get to serve once convicted will, of course, depend on the court’s ruling where they might get lesser time on their sentences or extra time if there are additional charges. Some offenders might also have to cough up a sum of up to ten thousand bucks ($10,000) in legal fines.
In overall reason, the stated elements must be present for the criminal charge to be enforced. In the instance that an individual gets caught in the act of executing a plan of attack, they are likely to be charged with a misdemeanor on the grounds of simple assault. In accordance to Civil Code 244, an assault with corrosive substances lawsuit may be filed only if the caustic chemical came into proximity with the grieving party.
The California Civil code differentiates various kinds of assaults where assault with corrosive chemicals is punishable as a felony. Owing to the acute outcome of an assault with caustic substances, the respondent might face a heavy penalty i.e. felony charges as contrasted with misdemeanor charges for simple assaults. In the state of California, assault with corrosive chemicals is looked on as a vicious offense, therefore including as a strike under the Three Strikes Law in the state of California. When it comes to determining what a corrosive chemical constitutes, a California court is quite flexible depending on several factors including the nature of a case in question.
Lawful Defenses for Assault with Caustic Chemical Charges
There are a couple of trial advocacies that might aid an offender in evading jail time for assault with corrosive substances. A few of the frequently desired consist of:
The offender did not make their move with intent or malice. The state of California under Civil Code 244 necessitates that the respondent must have acted consciously and cruelly if they are to face charges on assault with corrosive chemicals. The said respondent must not be convicted if the claimant’s injuries were because of an unfortunate incident.
The respondent had no intentions of wounding or deforming the other individual’s body. If the respondent were to be prosecuted, they should have acted with the intent to wound or deform the alleged victim’s body. The offender may have acted maliciously, but if they never purposed on wounding or deforming the alleged victim, they are not to be convicted of assault with caustic substances.
The victim’s allegations were untrue. In accordance with Civil Code 240, assault does not require the victim to suffer definite injuries for them to press charges. The said victim could have therefore falsified the claims out of either revenge, fury or envy. By challenging the flimsy evidence presented before a court, a practiced California criminal attorney can collect the necessary evidence, eventually bringing the truth of the matter to light.
The defendant made their move in self-protection or protection of a third party. When one is charged with assault with caustic substances, the act of self-protection or protection of a different individual is an effective legal defense in a California court. For the ruling to be passed as self-protection or protection of another, there should have been a rational certainty of an impending threat of being murdered, wounded or touched illegally.
In California, there is a law which grants one the option to stand their ground and can choose not to flee the scene of the crime even if they can. You could apply rational strength in order to defend yourself accordingly till you feel safe enough.
Charges Related to Assault with Caustic Chemicals
In the state of California, there are a few offenses that are like Civil Code 244, assault with caustic substances. A few of these crimes are not considered to be as grave, hence they may be applied to get the defendant off on a technicality by having them:
- Get reduced jail time.
- Get jail time as an alternative for a prison sentence.
- Stand a chance of serving probation as opposed to getting jail time.
The two most common related offenses to Civil Code 244, assault with corrosive chemicals are:
Civil Code 242, simple battery. Although Civil Code 244, assault with corrosive chemicals is termed as an assault, it still falls under the transgression of battery in the state of California. In California, assault and battery are two separate crimes with the major difference being that Civil Code 240, assault is a deed that may result to physical injury while Civil Code 242, simple battery is the causing of brutality on another individual.
In general, for a crime to be termed as a battery in California, physical contact must be included whereas this is not necessary for an assault. Civil Code 244, assault with corrosive chemicals is thus in an actual sense a form of simple battery since the caustic substances are required to come into proximity with the claimant’s body.
Under the California law, a battery is treated as a misdemeanor which warrants up to six (6) months or half a year in the regional penitentiary, a financial penalty of up to two thousand bucks ($2,000), or both.
Civil Code 245 (a) (1), assault with a deadly weapon, or ADW in short, is where the defendant engages in an attack on another person with a lethal weapon or implement other than a firearm. This charge differs slightly from Civil Code 244, assault with caustic substances in the sense that the caustic substances must come into proximity with the plaintiff’s body, whereas the accused could be found guilty of assault with a lethal weapon basically by trying to touch or wound another individual.
Again, an offender can be charged with assault with corrosive chemicals, regardless of the type or amount of caustic substance, whereas in the case of assault with a deadly weapon, it is essential that a defendant use energy that can result in life-threatening physical injury.
In California, there are certain crimes that can be punished either as felonies or misdemeanors. These types of crimes are often referred to as wobblers. Often, it is the prosecuting attorney who resolves whether a wobbler is to be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Civil code 245 (a) (1), assault with a lethal weapon under the California law happens to be a wobbler offense and can be treated either as a felony or a misdemeanor dependent on; whether the arm was a gun of any kind, the extent of the claimant’s damages or if the claimant was a guarded civil servant or a legal administrator.
Assault with a lethal weapon carries similar charges to those of Civil code 224, assault with corrosive substances if charged as a felony, with the basic sentence being two (2), three (3), or a quartet (4) of years in a high-security penitentiary. If on the other hand, they are to be treated as a transgression, an offender could end up serving a maximum of a single (1) year in the district jail, a financial penalty of up to one thousand bucks ($1,000), or both.
Common Queries on Assault with Caustic Chemicals in California
Is pepper spraying someone an assault in California?
The state of California views and identifies pepper spray as a practical means for their residents to safeguard their individual well-being. By spraying the contents of the vaporizer can towards the face of an assailant, you ensure that the spray inconveniences their sense of sight and ability to breathe properly which eventually leads to their incapacitation. Pepper spray is sold legally in California where one can carry and use it for self-protection in which case, it is not considered an assault with caustic substances.
How long does one have before filing assault with corrosive chemicals in California?
Typically, it is advisable for one to file charges with immediate effect. In the case of assault with corrosive substances which is considered a felony, the statute of limitation provides up to 3 years from when the arrest was made which is standard and may vary depending on different factors.
What substances are considered caustic chemicals by the state of California?
In general explanation, caustic chemicals are any substances that can eat through living tissue. As described earlier; acids containing Sulfur, most of its compounds and any flammable liquid with a boiling point of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or less are what California recognizes as caustic chemicals. The court, on the other hand, is quite flexible when it comes to defining such broad terms.
What does it mean in the long run for one who gets convicted for an assault with corrosive chemicals?
When one gets charged with an assault with corrosive chemicals, there is a likelihood that they might face battery charges as well. Since California to some extent considers assault with corrosive substances as a battery, a defendant might find themselves facing two charges at once in court. Such criminal records can tarnish one’s reputation making it hard to redeem themselves. Some institutions of higher learning, firms as well as professional careers may not allow an individual with a criminal history as part of them resulting in difficulties in one’s daily activities.
Find a Vista Criminal Attorney Focusing on Assault with Caustic Chemicals Near Me
In the ill-fated event that you find yourself in a criminal court hearing, you are going to require the services of a proficient and knowledgeable law firm like Vista Criminal Attorney. We boast of several top tier criminal advocates in California, who are well versed in criminal cases and are capable of effectively defending you in a hearing. To get more information regarding an assault with caustic substances, and to book your free appointment with us, get in touch with our Vista criminal lawyer today at 760-691-1551.