Assault charges are serious on their own. But things get even more complicated if a weapon is involved. Assault with a deadly weapon charges require a strong defense if you hope to avoid the harshest punishments under California law.
Assault with a deadly weapon is defined in Penal Code § 245. Under this statute, assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) can be charged when someone assaults another person with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm.
Examples of ADW charges include:
As with other assault charges, the alleged victim does not have to actually be injured for this charge to apply. If the act could have resulted in injury but didn’t — for example, it you swung a baseball bat at someone and missed — you could still be charged.
Folsom prosecutors must prove four essential elements to convict you of assault with a deadly weapon:
The direct application of force refers to any offensive or harmful touching, which does not have to be direct physical contact. Even the most minimal contact can be a direct application of force if it’s conducted in a rude or offensive manner.
An object considered a “deadly weapon” under the statute must have been used in the alleged defense for these charges to apply. Nearly anything can be classified as a deadly weapon if it is capable of causing death or great bodily injury. For example, any of the following could be a deadly weapon:
The alleged victim must have suffered “great bodily injury” or the threat of it. This includes broken bones, lacerations, gunshot wounds, and dog bites, for example.
You must have acted willfully, or on purpose, to be found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
Dealing with assault with deadly weapon charges is severe enough, but you could also be charged with several related offenses, including:
A Folsom assault with a deadly weapon lawyer can explain any additional charges you could face and fight to get them reduced or dismissed.
Like many crimes in California, assault with a deadly weapon can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the alleged weapon used, whether anyone was injured and how badly.
A misdemeanor ADW conviction (usually one not involving a firearm) could land you in jail for up to one year and saddle you with a fine of up to $1,000. A felony conviction could bring up to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
ADW charges involving the use of a firearm are more often charged as felonies. Assaults involving a semiautomatic firearm, assault weapon, or any offense involving assault on a peace officer can be charged as a felony carrying up to 12 years in prison.
Aside from the criminal penalties of an ADW conviction, you could face:
Even if your situation seems dire, know that you have options to defend yourself against ADW charges. Folsom assault with a deadly weapon lawyer Chris Walsh knows the prosecution’s tactics and what they need to convict you. He’ll advocate aggressively in your best interest to protect your rights and present the strongest defense possible.
A viable defense could get the charges dropped or reduced significantly. Some frequently seen assault with a deadly weapon defenses include:
California permits you to use force in self-defense. However, you must successfully show you believed you were in imminent danger and used an appropriate level of force. Your attorney may use evidence such as eyewitness accounts or medical expert testimony to support a self-defense claim.
If the object used in the alleged assault wasn’t a deadly weapon, you shouldn’t be convicted. Your attorney may work with a weapons expert to testify that the object allegedly used was not capable of being lethal.
Your attorney can create reasonable doubt of your guilty by arguing that the alleged assault was an accident or that you didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
If the alleged victim in your case wasn’t seriously hurt or you don’t have a criminal history, you may be eligible for a pre-trial diversion program which could help you avoid jail time. If you struggle with substance abuse or mental health issues, your attorney may be able to argue you should be admitted to a treatment program for rehabilitation rather than jail. Your Folsom assault with a deadly weapon lawyer will help you explore pre-trial diversion and plea agreement options that could be right for your case.
A deadly weapon is any object, instrument or weapon capable of producing death or great bodily injury. This includes traditional weapons like knives or firearms but can also include objects like glass bottles, rocks, or vehicles.
Once police are involved, the prosecutor decides whether to pursue charges, not the victim. However, the victim’s willingness to cooperate can impact the case.
If convicted, you may be able to get your record expunged. After you successfully complete probation or serve your sentence, and if no other charges are pending, you can file to have your record expunged and remove the conviction from your criminal record.
The penalties of an ADW conviction could change your life forever. At Walsh Law, our Folsom assault with a deadly weapon lawyers understand what you’re up against and what it will take to clear your name and get the charges reduced or dismissed. The sooner you contact our team, the sooner we can get started on your defense and maximize the chances of reaching the best possible outcome.