Charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon? Our top rated assault with a deadly weapons attorneys can help you navigate your case.
Table of Contents
Have You Been Charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Assault with a deadly weapon is a serious charge and can bring severe penalties in the California legal system. There are many ways that charges can be brought against an individual because almost any object can be considered a deadly weapon if used in a threatening way. When a firearm is used, the chances are even greater that an individual can be charged with assault. But individuals also have rights. And that’s where a defense lawyer comes in.
Knowing your rights, interpreting the laws that apply, and constructing the appropriate defense are essential to protecting you from prosecution.
If you have been charged with this kind of assault, it is advisable to consult a defense attorney for guidance on what these charges mean and what kinds of defenses can be made on your behalf. Is assault with a deadly weapon a misdemeanor or felony?
In the California court system, a term called “wobbler” is used to describe crimes that may be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony with the associated different levels of possible punishment. This term applies to crimes of assault with a deadly weapon. The nature of the crime – the identity of the victim(s), the weapon used, the injuries caused – can affect the severity of the crime.
What is California Penal Code §245?
In general, a deadly weapon is defined as any prohibited weapon such as firearms or imitation firearms, knives, clubs, brass knuckles, explosives, and even a motor vehicle used to intentionally injure others. A deadly weapon can also be a dog, a piece of broken glass, a shoe with high heels, or some other pointy object.
The crime applies to pointing a gun at someone with the intent to shoot them or chasing after them with an ax or a long-handled shovel.
The courts differentiate the crime based on whether or not a firearm is used, with more severe penalties involved with the use of a firearm whether that be a handgun, rifle, machine gun, semi-automatic gun, or anything similar. The law also differentiates the severity of the assault if it is against a peace officer or fireman as they perform their duties.
Assault with a deadly weapon applies to anyone who intends to create “great bodily injury” to another. This includes significant or substantial harm to the body such as bone fracture, disfigurement, loss of consciousness, etc.
What are the penalties for assault with a deadly weapon? The range of punishment for these crimes is different depending on the circumstances. If a firearm was not used, the punishment can be classified as a misdemeanor and can lead to a fine of up to $1,000, prison time of up to 1 year, and/or being put on probation.
If the charge (no firearm used) is a felony assault, the punishment can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 2-4 years.
If a semi-automatic firearm was used, the punishment can lead to prison time of 3, 6, or 9 years. Use of an assault weapon can lead to prison time of 4, 8, or 12 years.
Peace officers and firefighters are a special class of victims when performing their professional duties, and when they are the victims of assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, and if no firearm was used, the punishment for the offender is prison time for 3 to 5 years. The firearm element changes the prison time to 4, 6, or 8 years.
What defenses may be used for these charges?
Self-Defense argument: This argument must show that the force that was used was in self-defense and was justified to avoid further injury.
Lack of a deadly weapon: Many deadly weapons are outlined in California Penal Codes, but the categories are somewhat broad, so there can be other weapons claimed to be deadly in a court case. Your attorney can argue that the weapon you used was not deadly or that there was no weapon used at all.
Making a false accusation: There are many ways to use this defense. Witnesses are often mistaken about many details such as remembering who started the fight, who were all the people involved, and what weapons were used by which combatants.
Unwilling actions: You may have acted carelessly and without thinking, resulting in some kind of accident that you did not intend. You may have struck someone with a golf ball you drove off a tee, or swung a bat and accidentally hit someone standing beside you. Your lack of intent to hurt anyone shows you were not guilty of intentional assault. You may still be charged with negligence but that is far less serious.
Is there a way to get these charges dropped?
If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, there are different arguments attorneys can use in your defense that can get the weapons charges dropped. If you can show that it is a case of mistaken identity, especially if you can also prove that you were not at that location at that time, you have a strong case for dismissal. You may be able to show that you did not have the ability to carry out a threat.
You can learn more about legal defenses and possibly having charges against you dropped by consulting with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer.
How can I contact Perlman & Cohen?
The Los Angeles assault attorneys are experienced with many cases of assault with a deadly weapon and can advise you of your rights and help you outline a proper defense that will maximize the outcome of your case.
Contact Attorney Daniel Perlman or Matthew Cohen at the office of Perlman & Cohen, (310) 299-0062.