Being accused and convicted of an assault with a deadly weapon charge is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. It is important to understand not only what constitutes this crime but also the specific factors involved that will determine what your possible punishment could be if convicted. California Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines this crime as the attempt to assault someone with the added use of a deadly weapon. Standing in front of a person and pointing a gun at them or wielding a knife with the threat of stabbing someone are both examples of assault with a deadly weapon.
A deadly weapon can be classified as basically anything that a person can use to cause the imminent threat of harm to another person. The most common weapons people associate with the commission of this crime are guns and knives, but even something like tools or a person’s car can be considered instruments in a deadly weapon’s case.
In California, assault with a deadly weapon falls under the category of a wobbler offense, meaning it can either be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific facts of each case. Courts will look at what weapon was used to commit the crime, what was the extent of the injury the alleged victim sustained, and if the victim was a law enforcement officer or other protected person. Knowing whether your particular case is a misdemeanor or a felony is essential because it will ultimately determine what your punishment could be if you are convicted.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, you could face up to one year in the county jail, fines of up to $10,000, and if a firearm was involved, a minimum jail sentence of 6 months is set. If you are charged with a felony assault with a deadly weapon, then you could be sentenced to 2-4 years in the state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and a strike against your record under the California Three Strikes Law. Again, just like a misdemeanor, if a firearm was used, the amount of jail time can be up to nine years depending on the type of firearm, and this can increase to even twelve years if the victim falls under the category of a law enforcement officer or protected person.
If you are facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge and the possibility of these penalties, then you’ll need the experienced legal counsel at the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti on your side to make sure your rights are protected and to ensure that you receive the best defense possible. Contact us today and find out how we can help you with your case. We can be reached at (888) 478-8999.