When tension and conflict arise, even adults may struggle to express and navigate their anger. However, children have much less experience managing conflict and their emotions. If a child fights with another child at school, they may face charges of assault and/or battery.
The legal consequences they face for a single mistake and loss of control may follow them for years after the event. You will want to speak with a lawyer about their situation and receive legal representation to protect your child’s rights and ensure they are not wrongfully punished.
Understanding California’s Assault Charges for Minors
Under California Penal Code Section 240 PC, assault is:
“…an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
For minors, assault and battery charges can be considered misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the situation, who was involved, if there are prior offenses, and whether a weapon was used.
In some situations, a child may even be charged as an adult. Speak with a lawyer and inform them about the specifics of your child’s charges and situation as soon as possible. Taking action fast can save your child from life-altering consequences, including potential jail time.
How to Defend Against Charges of Assault as a Minor
When you partner with a highly qualified defense attorney, they will thoroughly analyze your child’s case and build a solid defense strategy tailored to their circumstances and charges. Some examples of methods they may use in assault cases involving a minor include the following:
At the time of the incident, if you felt your actions were necessary to avoid suffering harm, you may use self-defense as a defense. Your California defense attorney will need to showcase the following for you to utilize self-defense:
- Your child had a reasonable belief they were in danger
- Your child had a reasonable belief they were going to be unlawfully touched or hurt
- Your child exerted only the necessary amount of force to defend themself against the present danger
- Your child had a reasonable belief that immediate physical force was necessary to avoid a potential injury
Self-defense offers major protections against assault charges and asserts your child acted in response to a perceived threat of imminent harm. With a self-defense strategy, a judge must see that your child’s actions were necessary to protect themself.
Defense of Another
If your child was defending another individual from severe physical or verbal bullying, the person your child defended may be used as a witness to the event and can testify on their behalf. Even if your child “threw the first punch,” a lawyer may be able to showcase their thought process and selflessness in defending the other party—which may limit their potential consequences.
A teacher accuses your child of fighting with another child, but they only witnessed the encounter far away from the scene and have no other evidence of your child being involved in the accident. In these cases, our Aron Law Firm team may use mistaken identity if your child is wrongfully accused and the teacher mistakes them for someone else.
Children may have varying understandings of consensual actions and behaviors, which may lead to misinterpretation and misunderstandings. For example, if your child and another child are playing a game and another person perceives the altercation as a fight, your child may face harsh consequences.
To provide the best possible defense for your child, you will want to communicate as much accurate detail about the situation as possible. The Aron Law Firm will use the information provided and any evidence they gather to build the best defense strategy for your child’s case.
Contact Aron Law Firm for Experienced California Juvenile Defense
From academic stress to bullying, there are many facets to why children start fights in school. Taking initiative and speaking with a juvenile defense lawyer may save your child’s future. Our Aron Law Firm juvenile defense lawyers have years of experience offering genuine advocacy and client-tailored legal representation for our clients. By staying up-to-date with California legislation and utilizing our community connections, we have prevented various individuals from life-altering consequences.