California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC: Assault With A Deadly Weapon Laws

In California, there are many forms of assault, including simple assault, battery, aggravated battery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Generally speaking, assault with a deadly weapon is a felony offense in the state of California characterized by the use of a firearm or other “deadly weapons” such as knives. While assault with a deadly weapon could occur as a result of self-defense, you still of course have to prove this is that case. A deadly weapon does not have to be a firearm; it applies when you assault someone with a force that causes grievous bodily harm.

Aron Law Firm is a California criminal defense law firm with experience defending clients charged with assault with a deadly weapon. If you’re facing an assault charge, a conviction may lead to a jail term or otherwise negatively impact your life.

Prohibitions of the California Penal Code §245(a) (1) [Assault With A Deadly Weapon] 

When charged with the crime of Assault With A Deadly Weapon CPC §245(a) (1), you must have:

  • Assaulted someone with a deadly weapon
  • Used force resulting in grievous bodily harm
  • Acted willfully
  • Acted in a way that would lead a reasonable and logical person to understand you were about to use force
  • Have an ability to use force likely to cause grievous bodily harm
  • Not acted in self-defense or defended someone else

The prosecutor must prove the above facts beyond a reasonable doubt under CPC §245(a) (1). In this case, you can apply force indirectly by using an object to touch someone else.

Understanding the Penalties Associated with Assault With A Deadly Weapon

The penalties under CPC §245(a) (1) may vary. This penal code is a wobbler law, which means you may face a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on your case facts, such as the type of weapon used or whether you injured someone in the assault. 

If it is a misdemeanor, you may face up to 12 months in county jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. A felony may lead to a four-year jail term in state prison and attract a fine of up to $10,000. 

Can you get Probation With Either a Felony or Misdemeanor Under CPC §245(a) (1)?

California operates under the three-strike law. The three-strike law sentences defendants to 25 years to life for convictions of three or more violent felonies. The three-strike law may also apply if you get a conviction under Assault With A Deadly Weapon CPC §245(a) (1).

If you have a strike on your record and a court convicts you of another felony, you must serve eighty percent of your sentence. In comparison, someone with a strike-free record only needs to serve half the sentence. A juvenile crime may count as a strike when you are an adult.

Possible Defenses to Code §245(a) (1)

A Code §245(a) (1) charge does not necessarily mean you will get a conviction. An experienced criminal attorney may argue using various defenses:

1.  You Did Not Act Willfully

You may get an acquittal if you did not assault someone willfully and if you can prove it was an accident. For instance, if you trip and injure someone while holding a weapon like a hammer or pickaxe, that could be considered accidental.

2.  You Did Not Use a Deadly Weapon Likely to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm

Determining whether or not an object is a deadly weapon is not always clear. There are many objects that are not inherently deadly but still cause an injury to the prosecution. For instance, if you threw a cup at someone and it hit them in the eye, while they may have sustained a serious eye injury, it is up for debate whether the cup is a dangerous weapon.

An object may hurt someone but may not be inherently deadly. An attorney may be able to help prove the weapon you used was not intended to be nor functioned as a deadly weapon.

3.  You Were Lawfully Defending Yourself or Someone Else

If you defend yourself or go to the defense of someone in danger, accidentally harm the perpetrator, and do not use more force than is necessary, you may be able to argue self-defense or defense of someone else. As long as you were acting lawfully to protect yourself or another person, you should not face conviction.

4.  False Accusation

If someone falsely accuses you of assaulting them and you can prove it, you have a strong defense. Sometimes, people may choose to accuse you out of malice. For instance, if a co-worker suffers an injury at work, they may choose to accuse you if they had a bad experience with you before their accident. In such a case, evidence such as CCTV footage or a witness may prove that you did not assault them.

Offenses Related to Assault With A Deadly Weapon

These offenses are related because they often go hand-in-hand with CPC §245(a) (1). The crimes also have common elements the prosecutor should prove. The California Penal Code has various offenses related to CPC §245(a) (1). These include:

  • Simple assault
  • Battery causing serious injury
  • Simple battery
  • Brandishing a weapon or gun
  • Failure to control dangerous animals
  • Assaulting a public officer
  • Assault using caustic chemicals like acid
  • Throwing dangerous objects at motor vehicles
  • Assaulting emergency personnel
  • Assaulting police officers

In any situation, you need a strong defense with the assistance of a lawyer to gather proof that you did not commit the assault or related acts.

Contact a California Assault With A Deadly Weapon Lawyer

In California, an assault with a deadly weapon charge can severely impact your life. If accused, you need to retain a dedicated and skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney may negotiate a plea bargain, obtain a reduced charge, or even get your charges dismissed.

Aron Law Firm is a trusted and experienced criminal defense firm dedicated to helping you. It is a serious charge that needs a serious approach. We give you a chance at a fair trial and an opportunity to tell your version of the story. Reach out to us by filling out our contact form, or call us at (805) 618-1768 to book a strategy session.