California simple assault law, also referred to as Penal Code 240, defines assault as an unlawful attempt to commit violent injury on another person. For a defendant to be convicted of assault in California in a criminal jury trial, four things need to have happened.
1. The defendant acted in a way that resulted in the use of force against another person
2. The defendant completed this action willfully
3. The defendant had knowledge that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the action would result in force against another person.
4. The defendant had the means to apply force on another person.
The defendant acted in a way that resulted in the use of force against another person.
The use of force means physical contact that is harmful or…show more content… The woman throws her drink at him. Even though there was no risk of the woman injuring the man, it is still considered assault.
The defendant completed this action willfully.
The term “willfully” applies when something is done on purpose even if the intent was not to break any law, hurt someone, or gain advantage of some kind. Example: Edward, in an attempt to make his friends laugh, sneaks up on an unpopular teacher, pins him to the ground, and tickles him. A student calls the campus police and Edward is arrested for assault. Edward did not intend to break the law or harm the teacher, but tickling can be defined as an offensive means of physical contact and he willfully performed the action. As a result, he may be charged with assault under California law.
The defendant had the knowledge that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the action would result in force against another person.
California law does not require an intention to use force against another person. It only requires that you are aware that there is a good chance your actions will lead to force against another