Have you been arrested or even just questioned by the police for an assault?

Simple assault is defined in Penal Code 240 as an attempt to commit a violent injury on another person.   In order to convict the defendant, The District Attorney must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant did something that was likely to result in the use of force against someone else;

2. The defendant did so willfully;

3. The defendant was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that this act would directly and probably result in force being applied to the other person; and

4. When the defendant acted, he or she had the ability to apply force to the other person.

In everyday language, people will often use the phrase “assault and battery.” However, it should be noted that assault and battery are two distinct crimes. The crime of battery consists of the actual use of unlawful force or violence against someone else (as opposed to just an attempt to do so).

A much more serious version of assault is using a deadly weapon or using enough force that the assault was likely to cause great bodily injury – even if no injury occurs.

Many people make a big mistake. They think that just because they are innocent, they don’t need the best criminal defense lawyer.

The Court system is designed to be “adversarial.” This means the District Attorney represents the government, not you. He has no obligation to tell you if there are holes in his case or weaknesses in the evidence. If the police violated your rights or made mistakes, the DA won’t tell you that a motion to suppress evidence or even to dismiss the case is appropriate.

The Judge can’t take sides, so he or she can’t tell you what to do either. The only person in the system who is on your side is your defense attorney.

So YES, you do need the best criminal defense lawyer. You should also know that if you let the Judge appoint the Public Defender, then the Judge must order you to reimburse the county based on your ability to pay. You will be ordered to appear in Court and waste many hours away from work and family. In addition, the Public Defender is under a lot of pressure to get rid of cases. They work for the government just like the District Attorney. We don’t have that pressure and so we can do whatever is best for you.

Our goal is to get the case dismissed or reduced. No one can predict the future, but we have a lot of success stories and just a few of them are on our web site. If you don’t hire us, you will never know if your case could have been dismissed or reduced.


The consequences of any conviction can be life changing. Depending on the charge, you can face significant time in custody. If a firearm is used, the crime may be classified as a “strike” and may carry a mandatory state prison sentence.

If you are not a citizen, you can be deported, even if you are a “Lawful Permanent Resident” and have a “Green Card.” For some offenses, there can be a lifetime ban on owning or possessing firearms and ammunition. (This consequence is very tricky. The rules under state law are different from the rules under Federal law.)


Each case is unique, but there are two sides to every story. Attorney Mark Cantrell has licensed private investigators who will perform an independent investigation to find evidence to help you. Some of the common defenses include:

1. You did not actually have the ability to inflict force/violence on the other person, because the gun was not loaded;

2. You acted in self-defense or defense of someone else;

3. You did not act willfully or with the required intent; and

4. You were wrongfully accused, due to a mistaken identification.


Many people are surprised to learn that the police are allowed to lie to the suspect in an attempt to obtain a confession or incriminating statements. This is just one more reason it is foolish to talk to the authorities. If you are under investigation call us immediately so we can protect you.

Sometimes the police will do what is called a “ruse phone call.” The alleged victim will call you on the phone and make statements about what happened and try to get you to make admissions. Do NOT talk to the alleged victim or to anyone else about the case. The police are recording the call and many times defendants will say something just to try to smooth things over and those statements will later sound very incriminating.

Mark Cantrell is well known in the Riverside criminal defense community as a trial attorney with many successful cases to his credit. When you visit his office, he will be proud to show you newspaper articles about his cases - not paid advertisements.

The biggest mistake an accused person can make is to retain an attorney who does not do trials. The District Attorney has no reason to compromise and give you a break if your attorney is known as a “plea bargain” attorney.