Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Los Angeles California Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney with Experience
THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT “ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON”
If you or your loved one has been charged with the crime of “assault with a deadly weapon,” it is imperative that you learn all you can about this allegation. Better understanding the ins and outs of the law will be of immense assistance when you step into the courtroom.
How Is Assault With a Deadly Weapon Defined?
The California Penal Code, in Section 245(a)(1), defines “assault with a deadly weapon” simply as committing an act of assault on another by means of a deadly weapon. However, one must know the legal meaning of “assault” and of “deadly weapon” for this definition to be of much import. “Assault” is any willful, illegal attempt to harm another person, regardless of whether or not physical contact was made. “Deadly weapon” signifies any instrument or force that is likely to result in significant bodily injury when used in a particular manner.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove?
To obtain a conviction on the charge of assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecuting attorney must establish the following as facts:
● The defendant committed a willful act of assault on the plaintiff.
● A deadly weapon or deadly force was wielded by the defendant for the purpose of inflicting harm on the other person.
● The harm attempted or accomplished constituted “great bodily injury.” Minor injury does not qualify. It is not required that actual harm was done, but the harm would have likely been great had the attacker’s intentions been fulfilled.
PC 245(a)(1) clarifies that either a deadly weapon or deadly force count as a violation. The use of a firearm, however, is not included here because it is covered under other sections of the penal code. If the assault, whether made with or without an actual weapon, would by its very nature most probably cause great injury to the person assaulted, it counts as “assault with a deadly weapon.” Thus, force itself is conceived of as a “weapon.”
What Defense Strategies Are Available?
Some of the most frequently used defense strategies that criminal defense attorneys use in challenging charges of assault with a deadly weapon include:
● Defense of Self or Others: If the defendant believed, and had adequate cause to believe, that he himself or others nearby were in danger of suffering great bodily injury, then the application of force to the potential perpetrator was justified. Even the use of a deadly weapon or of deadly force may be excused in these instances, though the force applies must be proportionate to the existing threat.
● No Criminal Intent: If the assault and use of force was part of legitimate law enforcement activities, it is not a crime. If the assault was not intended at all, but was an accident, it is not a criminal violation.
● Misidentification: Witnesses sometimes mistake an innocent person for their attacker. This can often occur when the assault happened in a dark or dimly lit location at night.
What Are The Possible Penalties?
A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon is a very serious matter in the California penal system. It is, however, a “wobbler” charge that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The decision on what level of conviction to seek mainly rests on the following three factors:
● The kind of weapon or other device utilized in the assault or the degree of force applied.
● The existence or lack of any actual injury inflicted and the seriousness and longevity of any such injury.
● Whether or not the person attacked was a member of a specially protected class, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and ambulance workers.
When filed as a misdemeanor, conviction for assault with a deadly weapon can result in any of the following penalties:
● Summary probation for a period of up to five years
● Up to one year in the county jail
● A fine of up to $1,000
● Both the fine and the jail term
If a firearm was the weapon used in a misdemeanor-level assault, the following penalties can apply:
● Summary probation for up to five years
● A jail sentence not shorter than six months and not longer than 12
● A fine of up to $1,000
● Both jail time and the fine
When charged as a felony, conviction for assault with a deadly weapon can receive such sentences as:
● Two to four years in state prison
● A fine of up to $10,000
● A permanent “strike” on your record
If the assault involved such firearms as machine guns or .50-BMG rifles, sentences can include:
● Four to 12 years in prison
● A fine of up to $10,000
● A permanent “strike” on your criminal history
For many types of semi-automatic weapons, penalties include:
● Three to nine years in state prison
● A fine of up to $10,000
● A “strike” on your record in accordance with California’s “Three Strikes” Law
If the assault was committed against someone in a specially protected class, the following sentences are possible:
● Up to five years in state prison. This sentence applies regardless of whether a firearm was utilized. If the assailant knew, or should have known, of the victim’s protected status, this charge will be valid.
● From four to 12 years in prison. This applies when the particular kind of firearm was a semi-automatic, machine gun, or high-powered rifle.
Related Offenses and Sentencing Enhancements
Similar crimes and sentencing enhancements that often are a part of assault with a deadly weapon cases include:
● Simple Assault (PC 240): Any attempt to unlawfully injure another person is an act of assault. This is a “lesser included offense” in assault with a deadly weapon charges. It can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or by a jail term of up to six months.
● Simple Battery (PC 242): If the defendant not only assaulted the victim but actually made physical contact, however slight, an act of battery occurred. If there was also a sustained injury of a serious nature, it may well count as “aggravated assault.”
● Assault With a Firearm on a Peace Officer or Firefighter (PC 245d): Enhancements of four, six, or eight years are often added to base prison terms when a firefighter or police officer was the victim.
How Can the Law Office of David Givot Help?
If you or a loved one have recently been accused of assault with a deadly weapon or another violent crime in the southern California area, we at the Law Office of David Givot have extensive experience in this arena of law and stand ready to put our knowledge to work for you. We are located in Long Beach, CA, but also frequently serve clients in L.A., Riverside, and all of Orange County.
If you or your loved one have been arrested or are currently under police investigation, do not hesitate to contact us for help. We know how to defend your rights and to put up a defense that will lead to the best possible result. David Givot has deep knowledge of this area of law and great familiarity with the local legal system. He also has, over his many years of service, established enduring relationships with judges, law enforcement personnel, and other practicing attorneys in the area. These relationships often enable him to better navigate the court process and to secure valuable plea bargains when necessary.
If you are in need of skilled legal representation to defend you against allegations of assault with a deadly weapon, or other serious criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact David J. Givot by calling 888-293-0396 or by using his local number, 310-699-0070. Your call will be watched for on a 24/7 basis, and we will be happy to give you a free legal consultation and to answer all of your important legal questions. When facing serious criminal charges with high sentencing consequences, you need the best possible defense attorney. David Givot will know how best strategy to use in handling your case and will not settle for less than the best possible outcome for your case.