Assault in San Francisco Excelsior Neighborhood (CA Penal Code §240)

Assault in San Francisco Excelsior Neighborhood (CA Penal Code §240)

Rabin Nabizadeh
June 24, 2013

It could have happened to anyone.  The weekend arrives and you decide to go out for a quiet beer with some friends.  What you don’t expect is to be accosted for refusing to give someone a sip of that hard-earned beverage.  Yet, this is exactly what happened in San Francisco Excelsior neighborhood this past weekend.  A man, was standing outside of a local watering hole when he was approached by another individual, who wanted a taste.  When the beer-drinker refused, the stranger took the bottle from him, hit him over the head, and stole his cell phone.  The assailant may have been a bit inebriated, but what he did constitutes assault under California law.

CA Penal Code §240 covers assault and the exposure for this crime ranges anywhere from 6 months in county jail, community service, and a $1,000 fine up to 4 years in state prison, a $10,000 fine, and anger management classes.  This is because assault is a “wobbler,” which means that it can be considered a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.  The man who smashed a beer bottle over a stranger’s head may eventually be arrested for “battery” because he did more than simply threaten the beer-sipping stranger – he actually hit him with a bottle.  He could also be charged with robbery. Whether a beer bottle is considered a “deadly weapon” will be something for the courts to consider if this case ever goes to trial.

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