BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man acquitted of an assault charge that could have sent him to prison for life has been released after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, according to an attorney and court records.

Joe Kit Ignacio Fuentes was sentenced to time served Tuesday after being found not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge, records show.

Charging documents alleged Fuentes approached a stranger at the Four Points by Sheraton the night of March 3 and assaulted him with a hunting knife, Public Defender Peter Kang said. Fuentes had faced 35 years to life if convicted.

Deputy Public Defender Alan Rogers argued there was a misunderstanding between the men and Fuentes, not the alleged victim, was stabbed in the leg, Kang said. He said Fuentes carried a knife for protection after being assaulted with a metal pipe a few months earlier, suffering several broken ribs.

According to court records, Fuentes has multiple prior convictions for spousal abuse and a pending vandalism case.