Assault with a deadly weapon occurs when you willfully apply force on another person using a gun and cause significant bodily injury. Assault with a deadly weapon, also known as aggravated assault, is charged under California Penal Code 245(a)(1). A conviction for this offense attracts severe penalties in the form of a prison sentence, probation, and fines. If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon, you will require competent legal representation. At The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm, we will help you present available defenses to your case. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles, CA, to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Overview of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
California Penal Code 245(a) describes assault with a deadly weapon by performing an act that would cause injury to someone using a deadly weapon. However, the victim does not need to suffer a significant injury for you to get charged with this offense. The prosecutor will consider whether you used force and your actions would have in any way resulted in injuries. When you are arrested and charged with aggravated assault, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of crime before you get convicted:
Force Was Applied
Under Penal Code 245(a)(1) of California, the application of force is any offensive or harmful contact with an individual. Even when the contact was unintentional, you can still be charged with aggravated assault. Also, it is essential to understand that it is considered an application of force regardless of whether or not you succeeded in using force
For aggravated assault, a deadly weapon is found as an object which, when applied to someone, can cause severe bodily injury or death. A deadly weapon could be distinct items that can cause harm, such as guns. Also, other things like a broken glass bottle or an unloaded weapon could be considered a deadly weapon.
Severe Bodily Injury
According to the criminal law of California, serious bodily injury is a substantial or significant injury that exceeds minor harm. Common examples of severe physical injury include broken bones, wounds from a gunshot as well as lacerations. In your aggravated assault criminal case, the prosecutor is required to prove that you caused or threatened significant bodily injury to the victim.
You will get convicted under California Penal Code 425(a) if you willfully cause injury to another person. However, an intention to break the law is not necessary for your actions to be considered willful. If you are facing aggravated assault charges in California, it would be wise to enlist the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
When a firearm was not the deadly weapon used, assault with a deadly weapon will get charged as a wobbler. A wobbler can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. When charged as a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon will attract the following legal penalties:
- Summary probation. If you are sentenced on misdemeanor probation in an aggravated assault case, you will not need to report to a probation officer. Also, the terms of informal probation are less stringent.
- Up to one-year custody in a county jail
- Fines not exceeding $1,000
On the other hand, a felony assault with a deadly weapon is punishable with:
- Felony Probation. During felony probation, you will be required to check-in with a probation officer regularly. As part of probation, you will need to stay away from other criminal offenses during the probation period.
- Imprisonment for up to four years in state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
If you committed assault with a deadly weapon using a firearm, you would get charged with a felony. After a conviction, you will face penalties, including a six months minimum jail time. However, you may be charged with a felony if the offense was carried out using:
- A machine gun
- A 50 BMG rifle
- A semiautomatic weapon
- An assault weapon.
In this case, your sentence may include up to twelve years of a prison sentence. The penalties that accompany a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon are severe. Therefore, if you are facing these charges, it is vital to enlist the help of a competent criminal defense attorney.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Firefighter or a Police Officer
Under California Penal Code 425(a)(1), your offense will be charged as a felony if the alleged victim is a police officer. Also, the prosecutor will be required to prove that you had a reason to know that the victim was a police officer. A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon on a firefighter or a police officer is punishable with a five years imprisonment. However, if you used a firearm to assault the officer, your prison sentence could be increased to twelve years.
Immigration Consequences of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
There are severe negative immigration consequences that accompany a conviction under California Penal Code 425(a)(1). Immigrants who get convicted for an aggravated felony in California are likely to either get deported or be marked inadmissible. If you are an undocumented citizen or you are in the United States on a green card, you can lose your status. However, you will have a hearing where you can defend yourself in an attempt to avoid the harsh immigration consequences.
Effects of California Penal Code 425(a)(1) on Gun Rights
A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in California will affect your ability to own or use a firearm. This offense will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if you get convicted for a felony, you will lose your rights to own or use a gun. It is essential to understand that you may lose your gun rights even when the deadly weapon used to assault the victim was not a firearm. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor, which may not affect your gun rights.
Legal Defense Against California Penal Code 425(a)(1)
If you get arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, you will not always get convicted. With the help of a competent criminal defense attorney, you can beat these charges with the use of the following common defenses:
Claim There Was No Deadly Weapon
The presence of a deadly weapon is an essential element that a prosecutor will be required to prove in your criminal case. Your attorney can show that even if you committed the offense, you did not do so using a deadly weapon. This can be done by indicating factors that discredit the fact that you used a deadly weapon. If you can successfully prove that you did not use a deadly weapon on the victim, your charges could be reduced to an assault which carries lesser penalties.
Assault cases are likely to involve different individuals. Sometimes, a person can accuse you of an offense you did not commit in an attempt to escape justice. In other cases, the victim may decide to identify you as a perpetrator of the crime for personal reasons. If you can prove that you get falsely accused, you can avoid the severe consequences that accompany a conviction for this offense.
You Acted in Self Defense
You can attempt to fight ADW charges by claiming that you committed the offense in an attempt to defend yourself. However, it will be easier to present this defense if:
- When you acted, you had a valid reason to believe that you were in danger
- You thought that the amount of force you applied to the alleged victim was necessary to protect yourself from harm
- You used the appropriate level of power to defend yourself at the time
For example, you are walking along with a deserted place at night, and a person jumps from the bushes and tells you that they are going to make you pay for what you did. If you grab a bottle and throw at the individual, you commit assault with a deadly weapon, but you will not be guilty of the offense. This is because you believed that you were in imminent danger.
You Did Not Act Willfully
You are only guilty under California Penal Code 425(a)1 if the prosecutor can prove that you acted willfully. If you can show that you committed the act which resulted in injury without a specific purpose or by accident, you can fight these charges. Proving a lack of willful intent in an aggravated assault case can be complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to seek competent legal representation if you are facing these charges.
Commonly, an alleged victim can mistakenly identify you as the person who caused their injuries. Sometimes assault will occur in the darkness or with many individuals involved. Also, the victim may be in shock and fail to see the face of the person who assaulted them. In this case, the alleged victim may not have seen the perpetrator of the act. With the help of a competent attorney, you can undermine the witness testimony by claiming that you were mistakenly identified. However, this defense will be more effective if there are no other witnesses to the case.
Expunging Assault with a Deadly Weapon Conviction Record
Getting your criminal record expunged will release you from all disabilities that accompany a conviction. If you get convicted for assault with a deadly weapon in California, you are eligible for an expungement. However, it is essential to understand that you will qualify for an expungement if you get convicted for a misdemeanor offense. Also, you need to complete your jail sentence and probation successfully.
The court will determine your successful completion of probation by considering whether you followed all the terms of probation. This will include paying restitution fees and completing counseling programs. Also, you need to have attended the required court dates and did not commit other offenses during the period of probation. If you violated the terms of probation, the court could offer you a hearing to determine your eligibility.
If you want to get an expungement for your aggravated assault charges, you will require legal guidance. Your attorney will follow these steps when filing for your relief:
- Analyze your case to understand if you are eligible for expungement
- Carry out some legal research on laws that affect expungement of your offense
- File some paperwork that is required within the given time
- Attending expungement hearings
A criminal record for assault with a deadly weapon will affect your ability to obtain employment. This is because it will appear in background checks done by potential employers. If your criminal record is successfully expunged, employers will not use the document to discriminate against you. Also, it will be easier for you to obtain a license and may prevent negative immigration consequences.
However, expungement of your assault with a deadly weapon records will not restore your gun rights in California. If you want to seek an expungement of your criminal records after a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, it is crucial to seek legal help.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon Related Offenses
There are several ways in which you can commit assault with a deadly weapon. The following are offenses which can be charged alongside or instead of this offense:
California Penal Code 217.1 Assault On A Public Official
Assault on a police officer occurs when you attempt to cause injury on a public official or their family as a form of retaliation or to prevent them from performing their duties. If you commit assault with a deadly weapon on a federal officer, you could get charged with both California Penal Code 425(a)(1) and 217.1. If you are facing charges for assault on a public official, the prosecutor will be required to prove the following elements of the crime:
- You committed assault. In California, you commit assault by attempting to cause injury to another person when you have the means to do so. However, it is crucial to understand that you can still be charged with this offense even when you did not succeed in causing
- The alleged victim is a public official. You will only be charged under penal code 217.1 if the alleged victim of the assault was a public official. For this offense, a public official could either be the president, a commissioner, a prosecutor, or other federal elected official.
- Show your motive for committing the offense. Proving your motive for assaulting the official is an essential factor in your case. You would be guilty if you attacked the official in an attempt to retaliate or prevent them from performing their duties. The prosecutor needs to show the relationship between the assault and the officer’s responsibility.
Assault on a public official will be charged as a wobbler depending on the circumstances of your case. When charged as a misdemeanor, this offense attracts the following penalties:
- Fines not exceeding $1,000
- Misdemeanor probation
- A jail sentence of up to one year
On the other hand, potential penalties for a felony conviction are:
- Up to three years in county jail
- Fines not exceeding$10,000
- Formal probation
If you are charged with assault on a public official alongside attack with a deadly weapon, you will suffer penalties for both offenses. Therefore, it is crucial to have competent legal representation in such a case.
Failure to Control a Dangerous Animal
Under California Penal Code 399, a dangerous animal is any wild or domestic animal that is prone to willfully harming people. If you owned an animal that caused serious bodily injury to another person, you would be charged with failure to control a dangerous animal. The following are some key elements that need to be clear before you get convicted for this offense in California:
- You owned a dangerous animal. The animal could either be a pet or other wild animals. Also, it must be clear that you were in control of that animal
- You were well aware that the animal you owed is a threat of injury to another individual
- You purposively allowed the dangerous animal to roam around by failing to control it
- The animal caused severe bodily injury or death of another person. Serious injury could be any physical impairment, loss of consciousness, wounds or disfigurement
- The alleged victim practiced all precautions that an ordinary person would have taken to avoid the incident. However, if the victim was a child under the age of five years, there are no expected reasonable precautions
In such a case, you will get charged with assault with a deadly weapon you gave the animal a command to attack the alleged victim. Failing to control a dog could seem like a minor offense. However, if the animal causes injury or death to another person, you will face criminal charges. If the alleged victim suffered severe bodily injury, you are likely to face the following legal penalties:
- Summary probation
- A six months jail sentence
- Fines not exceeding $1,000
If an individual dies as a result of your failure to control a dangerous animal, you will be charged with a felony offense. The penalties in this situation will include:
- Felony probation
- A jail sentence not exceeding three years
- Up to $10,000 in fines
If you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon for failure to control an animal, you would greatly benefit from competent legal representation.
Brandishing a Firearm – California Penal Code 417
You commit an offense under California Penal Code 417 if you display or exhibit a deadly weapon in the presence of another person. Also, you will get convicted of this offense if you use the firearm to fight against someone else. If you tried to cause harm to another person using a gun, you could be charged with brandishing a forearm instead of assault with a deadly weapon.
If you are charged with this offense, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of crime before making a conviction:
- You drew and displayed the firearm in front of another person
- You displayed the firearm in a way that would threaten the alleged victim
- At some point, you used the weapon to fight against the other party
- The prosecutor also needs to prove that you did not act in self-defense at the time you drew the firearm
If you rudely draw a gun in front of another person, you will be charged with brandishing a gun. It is essential to understand that the weapon does not need to be used or pointed at the victim for this charge to stick.
In California, brandishing a firearm is often charged as a misdemeanor. However, brandishing a gun in front of a police officer or a minor, you may be charged with a felony. A misdemeanor conviction for this offense will attract up to one year of jail time. If you are accused of a felony, you are likely to face three-year imprisonment in state prison. Getting charged with both brandishing a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon can have devastating legal consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney if you are facing these charges.
Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Causing injury to another individual with a deadly weapon or instrument will get you arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Whether you are accused of a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction for this offense carries severe legal consequences. Fortunately, getting arrested does not always mean that you will get convicted. There are defenses you can successfully present in an attempt to avoid the severe penalties. Should you find yourself or your loved one facing charges under California Penal Code 245(a)(1), it is crucial to seek competent legal representation. If you are in Los Angeles, CA, you will require legal guidance from The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm. Contact us at 310-935-1675 today.