Definition and Aspects of Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
Under California Penal Code 240 (PC 240), assault is defined as an attempt to commit injury to another person. However, when that attempt involves the use of a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury or death, the charge could be increased to California Penal Code 245(a)(1). Under (PC 245(a)(1)), assault with a deadly weapon could be either a misdemeanor or a felony-level offense.
To establish Assault with a Deadly Weapon (245(a)(1)) in court, the Prosecution must prove:
- The Defendant committed an act with a deadly weapon that would directly and most likely result in the application of force OR if there was no weapon involved, the Defendant used force likely to result in great bodily injury;
- The Defendant acted willfully;
- A reasonable person would believe the act would directly and probably result in the application of force;
- The Defendant had the ability to use force on another person at the time of the incident.
A deadly weapon is defined as an object, weapon, or instrument that is either inherently deadly or could be used in a way to inflict a bodily injury that could be severe or even result in death. Knives, baseball bats, and brass knuckles fall into this category; however, ordinary objects such as bottles, gardening tools, or cars can be considered deadly weapons as well.
No one needs to be hurt to establish Assault with a Deadly Weapon; however, an injury would be used as proof the Defendant committed the act.
Examples of Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
A man gets into a bar fight on a night out that results in him pulling a knife on his opponent and stabbing him repeatedly. This violates the statute, and therefore the man could be charged with (PC 245(a)(1)).
A woman is driving home from work when she sees her boss crossing the street. The woman speeds up and aims for her boss, who dives out of the way just in time to avoid being hit with the vehicle. Despite the automobile not being a traditional weapon and the boss not being harmed, the woman could be charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245(a)(1)).
Criminal Offenses Related to Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
Offenses related or similar to Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245(a)(1)):
- Assault – California Penal Code Section 240 (PC 240)
- Battery – California Penal Code Section 242 (PC 242)
- Domestic Battery – California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) (PC 243(e)(1))
- Assault with a Firearm – California Penal Code Section 245(a)(2) (PC 245(a)(2))
Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
One of the most common defenses to (245(a)(1)) is self-defense. If the Defendant acted in self-defense in a struggle between the two parties, under the implicit belief that he/she could be seriously harmed, and the injuries inflicted on the alleged Victim occurred due to the Defendant protecting himself/herself, the case could be dismissed.
Additionally, if there were no weapons involved, a good Defense Attorney would argue the charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (245(a)(1)), since punching or kicking does not necessarily fall under this statute.
Another defense that might apply to the specific case could argue a lack of intent. If the incident resulted from an accident, and there was no willful determination to cause harm, the case could be dismissed.
Lastly, if there was no harm or injury resulting from an incident, Defense could argue false accusations. If, after a heated argument, someone files a report under false pretenses over an incident that never occurred, a Defendant could be arrested for a crime he/she never committed.
Consequences and Penalty for Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
California Penal Code 245(a)(1) is a ‘wobbler’ offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. To make the distinction between those charges, a Judge would review factors such as the extent of injuries if an injury has occurred, the type of weapon used, and the Defendant’s criminal history, as well as any other relevant circumstances to the case.
If Assault with a Deadly Weapon is charged as a misdemeanor, the penalty could include fines up to $10,000 and a jail sentence up to a year. Additional anger management classes or court-mandated community services could apply. Lastly, if the Victim was injured, the Defendant might be responsible for covering any financial loss as a result of the incident.
If the Defendant is charged with a felony, the prison sentence can increase up to four years, and the same penalties could apply as listed above. If the use of a firearm was involved in the incident, the prison sentence could increase up to 12 years, and the Defendant could lose his right to own or obtain a firearm. Lastly, if the victim was a peace officer, an extra five years can be tallied onto any prison sentence. This is also counted as a ‘strike’ on the Defendant’s record, which would impair his/her ability to attain specific jobs, loans, properties and hinder the Defendant in any situation where a thorough background check is required.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon (245(a)(1)) is a misdemeanor or a potential felony-level offense that can result in long-lasting consequences, including time served in prison and expensive court fines. It is imperative that if you are being charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code 245(a)(1): Assault with a Deadly Weapon (245(a)(1)). Book a free consultation today.