Definition and Aspects of Assault with a Firearm:
Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245(a)(1)) is considered a more serious crime than simple Assault (PC 240), but if the use of a firearm was involved in the offense, the penalties increase even further. California Penal Code 245(a)(2) (PC 245(a)(2)) is a potential felony-level offense that is punishable with expensive court fines and time served in prison.
To establish assault with a firearm (PC 245(a)(2)) in court, the Prosecution must prove:
- The Defendant did act with a firearm that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force;
- The action was intentional;
- 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 firearm is defined as a device that is intended to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is discharged or expelled through a barrel by an explosion or other form of combustion. Automatic and semiautomatic weapons fall under this definition well.
Furthermore, no injury or harm is required to be convicted of assault with a firearm (PC 245(a)(2)).
Examples of Assault with a Firearm:
A woman gets into a heated argument with his neighbor. Tired of reasoning, she brings out her hunting rifle and shoots at the neighbor. The woman misses, and both parties walk away unharmed. However, since no injury is required under California Penal Code 245(a)(2), the woman could be charged.
In another example, a woman points a gun at her lover, knowing it is not loaded. Under PC 245(a)(2), this would not constitute a violation of the statute, as she lacked the ability to commit a violent injury at the time of the incident.
However, if the same woman uses the unloaded gun to pistol-whip her lover, she could be charged with assault with a firearm.
Criminal Offenses Related to Assault with a Firearm:
Offenses related or similar to assault with a Firearm (PC 245(a)(2)):
- Assault – California Penal Code Section 240 (PC 240)
- Battery – California Penal Code Section 242 (PC 242)
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon – California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) (PC 245(a)(1))
Defenses to Assault with a Firearm:
One of the most common justifications to (PC 245(a)(2)) 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 as a result of the Defendant protecting himself/herself, the case should be dismissed.
Just like in the example mentioned earlier, the weapon has to be loaded in order to be harmful if it was pointed at someone. If the gun wasn’t loaded or in a condition that it could be operable, a good defense attorney would reason that the crime does not fall under this statute.
Consequences and Penalty for Assault with a Firearm:
Assault with a firearm (PC 245(a)(2)) is a ‘wobbler’ offense, which means that it could either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the details of the crime.
If it is charged as a misdemeanor, the Defendant could face fines up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to a year. Also, the convicted could face court-mandated anger management courses, community labor, and even probation.
If it is charged as a felony, the fines increase to $10,000 and up to four years in prison. If the victim was a peace officer, the sentence could increase to eight years. If the firearm used was semiautomatic, the maximum prison sentence is nine years. If the weapon was an assault weapon, a machine gun, or a .50 BMG rifle, the punishment could be as severe as 12 years in prison.
Additionally, a conviction for (PC 245(a)(2)) is considered a ‘strike,’ and under California’s Three Strikes Law, it can increase punishments for future charges. Someone convicted of assault with a firearm can lose their right to purchase or own firearms for life.
Lastly, assault with a firearm (PC 245(a)(2)) is considered a violent crime, which would prevent those convicted from obtaining certain jobs, loans, leases, future licensing, or hinder them in any situation where a thorough background search is required.
Assault with a Firearm (PC 245(a)(2)) 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 firearm, 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)(2): Assault with Firearm (PC 245(a)(2)). Book a free consultation today.