Ambrosio E. Rodriguez

LOS ANGELES CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
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(800) 852-9851
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Los Angeles Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney

Los Angeles Assault With A Deadly Weapon AttorneyIf you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney who understands California’s complex assault and battery laws.

As a former Senior Deputy District Attorney, criminal defense attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez has experience both prosecuting and defending criminal charges. He knows how the prosecution will approach and handle charges for assault with a deadly weapon and uses this to his client’s advantage. Contact his Los Angeles office today to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon

In California, the crime of assault with a deadly weapon is defined in Penal Code 245 PC. You can be charged with a crime under 245 PC if you commit an assault (1) with a deadly weapon, OR (2) with force likely to produce great bodily injury. So, it is not actually necessary to have a deadly weapon to be charged with the crime of assault with a deadly weapon. It is enough to commit an assault with enough physical force that the victim would be likely to suffer great bodily injury.

If you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon in California, the prosecution will be required to prove that you are guilty of each element of the offense. Since the crime of assault with a deadly weapon can be committed in more than one way, these elements will depend on the specific part of the statute you are charged with violating.

Conviction For Assault With A Deadly Weapon 245(a)(1) PC

To be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon under 245(a)(1) PC the prosecution must prove:

  1. You committed an act with a deadly weapon; and
  2. This act, by its nature, would directly and probably result in the application of force to another person.

For the purposes of this crime, a deadly weapon is an “object, instrument, or weapon” that is capable of likely to cause great bodily harm or death. Almost any item can be considered to be a deadly weapon if it is used in a way that is likely to cause harm.

Examples of objects that have been considered to be “deadly weapons” for the purposes of this law include bottles, pens, pencils, cars, animals, hammers, or other tools.

Assault With Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury

To be convicted of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury under 245(a)(4) PC the prosecution must prove:

  1. You intentionally committed an act that, by its nature, would probably result in the application of force;
  2. The force applied was likely to produce great bodily injury;
  3. You were aware that the act would likely result in the application of force; and
  4. You had the present ability to apply such force.

In most cases, the crime assault with a deadly weapon will be charged under (a)(1). This is because (1) we generally use some kind of item to apply force to another person, and (2) our hands and feet are not considered to be “deadly weapons.”

However, if you have some kind of special training (e.g., Karate, Krav Maga, Tenketsu Jutsu, etc.), the force applied may be considered “deadly” for purposes of section (a)(4).

Examples of acts that could be charged as assault with a deadly weapon include:

  • Attempting to stab another person with any sharp object that would be likely to cause harm;
  • Instructing an animal to attack another person;
  • Firing a gun in the direction of another person;
  • Swerving your car in the direction of another vehicle or a pedestrian;
  • Throwing a bottle at another person.

How is Assault with a Deadly Weapon Different From Battery?

You can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon even if your attempt to harm another person is unsuccessful. The fact that you used a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily harm is enough to aggravate the charge of assault.

If your attempt is successful – meaning that you actually make physical contact with another person – you will probably be charged with a battery under California Penal Code 242. Assault with a deadly weapon is essentially an attempt at a battery, while battery is a completed and successful assault.

Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor will base the charge on (1) the seriousness of the offense, (2) the type of deadly weapon used, (3) whether the victim suffered any harm, (4) whether the victim was the member of a protected class, and (5) your prior criminal record.

Assault with a deadly weapon charged under 245(a)(1) PC carries a possible sentence of (1) one year in county jail, (2) 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison, and/or (3) a fine of up to $10,000.

Assault with a deadly weapon using a firearm charged under 245(a)(2) PC carries a possible sentence of (1) 6 to 12 months in jail, (2) 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison, and/or (3) a fine of up to $10,000.

Assault with a deadly weapon using a machinegun, assault weapon, or .50 BMG rifle charged under 245(a)(3) PC carries a possible sentence of 4, 8, or 12 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Assault with force likely to produce great bodily harm charged under 254(a)(4) PC carries a possible sentence of (1) up to 12 months in jail, (2) 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison, and/or (3) a fine of up to $10,000.

These penalties will be aggravated if the weapon used is a semiautomatic firearm or if the victim of the assault is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in his or her civic duties.

Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Just because you are accused of assault with a deadly weapon does not mean that you will be convicted of the crime. The prosecution must establish that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You are legally entitled to offer a defense to make the prosecution’s job as difficult as possible. Defenses to assault with a deadly weapon in California include:

  1. Actual innocence;
  2. False accusation;
  3. Lack of required intent;
  4. Accident;
  5. Self-defense; and

No use of a deadly weapon or force likely to cause harm.

Hiring an Experienced California Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defense Attorney

When you face criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon it is important to hire a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to defend you. The prosecutor trying your case will be an experienced litigator and will employ any tactic necessary to get a conviction. You can level the playing field and protect your rights by hiring an attorney to defend you.

Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is a former prosecutor who is uniquely positioned to defend you against serious criminal accusations. Contact his Los Angeles office today to learn more about how he can help you achieve the best possible result in your criminal matter.