What Are Juvenile Simple Assault Charges in San Diego County?

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In San Diego County, assault charges against a minor are nothing to take lightly. If your child is facing simple assault charges, they could be in a lot of trouble without the assistance of a skilled juvenile criminal defense lawyer.

This trouble could multiply if the prosecutor couples your child’s juvenile assault charges with battery charges, or if your child has a prior violent offense on their record.

What Is Simple Assault Under California Law?

California Penal Code section 240 defines simple assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”

For an adult, this crime is a misdemeanor that can result in up to six months in jail.

One example of simple assault would be brandishing a baseball bat at someone under circumstances that suggested you were about to strike them with it. “Simple assault” means an assault without a battery.

Assault vs. Battery: What’s the Difference?

Even though the popular phrase “assault and battery” suggests that it is only one crime, it is actually two crimes.

Assault is an attempt to use violence that causes fear in the intended victim, while battery is the actual use of violence. Brandishing a baseball bat and then actually striking someone might be assault and battery.

Striking someone from behind with a bat would be battery only—it would not be assault because the victim could not see it coming.  

The San Diego County Juvenile Justice System

The California juvenile justice system is very different from the adult criminal justice system. There are no juries in juvenile court, and in some cases, there is no need for the defendant juvenile to show up in court at all.

Possible penalties include everything from a stern lecture to incarceration in a juvenile facility.

Consequently, California typically treats assault charges made against a minor differently than assault charges made against an adult.

The criminal justice system is far more likely to treat your child with leniency than it would an adult.

Several factors could determine the severity of the penalty, including:

  • The facts of the case: There is a difference between shaking your fist at someone and pointing a gun to their head.
  • The personality of the judge: Some judges are naturally more lenient than others.
  • The skill of your child’s lawyer: Experience matters, so be sure to engage someone who has handled juvenile cases before, preferably in the same jurisdiction as your child’s case. 

In certain serious cases, a child of 14 or older can be tried as an adult and incarcerated in an adult correctional facility. This is relatively uncommon, however, especially for charges like simple assault.

Contact San Diego County Juvenile Defense Lawyer Kerry L. Armstrong Immediately

When your child faces criminal charges, time is critical. Your child’s lawyer needs time to prepare the most effective defense.

Our experienced juvenile lawyers will treat your child’s case with compassion, confidentiality, and a commitment to getting the best result possible. So do not delay.

Contact the Law Office of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, immediately by calling 619-373-0185 or by filling out our online contact form

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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