Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Answers from a Los Angeles Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney

Assault with a deadly weapon is defined in California Penal Code section 245(a)(1) as an unlawful attempt to inflict bodily harm to another person by using a weapon OR by using force likely to cause significant bodily harm. 

Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245(a)(1)) is a serious charge in California. If you or someone you love has been arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight these charges.

What does the prosecution have to prove to convict someone of assault with a deadly weapon?

What does the prosecution have to prove to convict someone of assault with a deadly weapon?

To convict an individual of this offense, the prosecution must establish all of the following elements:

  • The accused person acted intentionally;
  • The accused person committed an act with a deadly weapon or used force likely to cause great bodily injury;
  • The accused was aware that their actions were likely to result in force on the alleged victim;
  • At the time of the incident, the accused person had the ability to use force against the alleged victim.

What is Considered a "Deadly Weapon"?

A deadly weapon can be any object, instrument, or weapon that is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury

Weapons that are considered “deadly” can include: firearms, knives, tools, hard surfaces such as granite countertops, vehicles, and bottles. They can also include someone’s fist or foot, depending upon the circumstances.

Penalties and Sentencing for Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges

Assault with a deadly weapon is a “wobbler” under section 245(a)(1), which means that the prosecution can charge it as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If it is charged as a felony, it is generally a “strike” offense under California’s Three Strikes Law.

A conviction for misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon offense can result in the following penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Probation
  • Victim restitution costs, where applicable
  • Community service, community labor, or classes
  • Fines of up to $10,000

If convicted of a felony offense, an individual could face:

  • Up to 4 years in prison or 3 years of felony probation
  • Confiscation of weapon
  • Victim restitution costs, where applicable
  • A strike under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • Fines of up to $10,000

What Makes an Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charge a Felony?

The prosecution has the choice of whether to charge Assault with a Deadly Weapon as a misdemeanor or felony. The typical factors that the prosecutor looks at when deciding the charging level include:

  • Seriousness of injuries (if any) to the victim
  • The accused’s criminal history
  • The type of weapon used
  • The relationship between the victim and the accused

 

Even if a case is originally charged as a felony, a skilled Assault with a Deadly Weapon defense attorney may be able to get the charges dropped to a misdemeanor. The difference in penalties between a Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge and a Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge are substantial. Therefore, it is important to get an Assault with a Deadly Weapon attorney to fight for you as quickly as possible.

If you need help with an Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge, you can call us anytime for a free consultation: (213) 377-6102.

Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges:

Self-defense or defense of others

A person may defend themselves if they reasonably believed they or someone else were in immediate danger.

Lack of intent

If the accused did not mean to commit the assault, they cannot be convicted under section 245(a)(1).

False Accusations

This is a criminal defense to these charges. The defense is made stronger where there are no corroborating witnesses to the assault because the alleged victim may have a motive for lying.

Help from a Los Angeles Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been accused of Assault with a Deadly Weapon, we can help. Call us at (213) 377-6102 for a free consultation with an attorney about your case.

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