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If your child has been charged with simple assault, you likely have questions about how the law is applied to minors. Under California law, simple assault is an attempt to commit a violent injury on another, with the present ability to do so. Simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in jail (juvenile hall) and a fine of up to $1,000.

Can a Minor in San Diego be Charged with Simple Assault?

Minors, individuals under the age of 18, can be charged with assault in California. It is impossible for a minor charged with simple assault to be tried in an adult court, unless the assault charge includes use of a firearm or a deadly weapon.

Even if the minor is tried in juvenile court, however, they may face detention to be served in a juvenile facility. Other potential penalties include monetary fines, community service, probation, and required attendance in rehabilitative classes.

Other Offenses Associated with Simple Assault

If the conduct at issue resulted in someone else’s injury, the lowest charge you will likely face is simple assault. In addition to simple assault, you could be charged with the following associated offenses:

  • Battery,
  • Assault with a deadly weapon,
  • Disturbing the peace,
  • Assault on a public officer, and
  • Assault with caustic chemicals.

The specific charges you will face depend on the specifics of your case. Your charges will impact whether you will be tried as a juvenile or an adult in the California justice system.

How Can a Simple Assault Charge Be Dismissed?

If the deputy district attorney handling your case believes that there is not enough evidence to proceed with the prosecution, the state may dismiss your charges. If you cannot obtain a dismissal, you may still be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to plead to a lesser charge. If your case proceeds, your attorney can raise a number of potential defenses, depending on the facts of your case. Possible defenses include:

  • You acted in self-defense or in defense of someone else;
  • You did not have the present ability to commit a violent injury;
  • You did not intend to injure the person;
  • You were falsely accused; or
  • You had the consent of the injured person.

If one of these defenses applies to your case, your attorney can use it to argue for dismissal or negotiate a plea deal for you. The prosecutor will consider your defenses when determining how to proceed with your case.

Juvenile Court Proceedings for Simple Assault

Criminal cases with minor defendants, or individuals under the age of 18, are generally sent to juvenile court. If your child is a minor charged with a crime, you will likely have multiple hearings in juvenile court. Unlike adult court proceedings, juvenile proceedings are generally closed to the public.

However, the minor’s parents are entitled to attend court. If your juvenile case goes to trial, a judge, not a jury, will be the one to decide your case.  This is called a bench trial. There is no right to a jury trial in juvenile court.

Hire an Experienced San Diego Simple Assault Attorney 

If you or your child are facing juvenile simple assault charges, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney right away. At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, our attorneys have nearly forty years of experience advocating for clients. Additionally, attorney Kerry L. Armstrong is a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California. 

We bring compassion and dedication to every case we work on. Contact us today for a free confidential case review. We will walk you through the process of defending your case, step by step, and fight for your best outcome.

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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