Orange County Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorneys
Assault with a Deadly Weapon - California Penal Code 245
Assault charges are some of the most serious felony charges in California, with stiff sentencing and distinct legal codes. These charges can be heavily enhanced when a deadly weapon is involved. Under California Penal Code 245, the crime of assault with a deadly weapon is an assault committed with a so-called "deadly weapon," OR by means of force likely to produce "great bodily injury."
The circumstances and nature of the crime are subject to a number of factors, each of which may be invaluable in building a defense case. But to ensure that your right to a fair trial is upheld, you need the thorough legal knowledge of an Orange County criminal defense attorney at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. If you or a loved one is charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Orange County, do not hesitate to contact us at (888) 478-8999 to ensure you receive a fair defense in court.
Different Types of California Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges
Assault is any action that can result in harm towards an intended victim or is intended to threaten them, per California Penal Code (PC) 240. When a deadly weapon is involved, the crime then shifts to assault with a deadly weapon and includes additional charges, including:
- PC 245(a)(1) - Assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm)
- PC 245(a)(2) - Assault with a deadly weapon (a firearm)
- PC 245(a)(3) - Assault with a deadly weapon (great bodily injury)
- PC 245(b) - Assault with a deadly weapon (semiautomatic firearm)
- PC 245(c) & (d) - Assault with a deadly weapon (against a policeman or firefighter)
California law defines “deadly weapon” as “any weapon, the possession or concealed carrying of which” can include firearms, knives, concealed explosives (including fixed ammunition), darts, clubs, brass knuckles, imitation firearms, and any other object that “is prohibited by any provision listed in Section 16590.”(California Penal Code 16430).
California law defines a "firearm" as "any device, designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion." (California Penal Code 16520(a))
California law defines "great bodily injury" as "significant or substantial harm to the body, to include: loss of consciousness, bone fracture, disfigurement, etc." (California Pen Code § 12022.7)
United States law defines a "semiautomatic firearm" as "any repeating rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge." (18 U.S. Code § 921)
The Burden of Proof
Which crime you are charged with will ultimately depend on the decisions of the prosecution and which charge they believe they can successfully convict you of. This can work to our advantage, however, as the District Attorney will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. In order to prove assault with a deadly weapon, they will need to demonstrate that:
- An individual was assaulted or feared physical harm;
- The defendant willingly committed assault or threatened another individual with harm;
- A deadly weapon or firearm was involved; and
- Force was involved that could have or did lead to bodily harm.
Penalties for Deadly Weapon Charges
California law dictates different sentences for deadly weapon charges depending on the circumstances of the crime, including if bodily harm occurred, what type of weapon was used, and who was being assaulted. Generally, a conviction will require a minimum of a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
- PC 245(a)(1) – Assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm is a wobbler, meaning you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor punishments include imprisonment in a county jail for up to 1 year, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or probation. Felony assault with a deadly weapon includes imprisonment in the state prison 2 to 4 and/or by a fine up to $10,000.
- PC 245(a)(2) – Assault upon the person of another with a firearm is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 2 to 4 years or in a county jail for 6 months to 1 year, and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- PC 245(a)(3) – Assault upon the person of another with a machinegun (defined above) or an assault weapon, as defined in Penal Code §30510, 30515 or 30530, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 8, or 12 years.
- PC 245(b) – Assault upon the person of another with a semiautomatic firearm shall be punished by in imprisonment in the state prison for 3, 6, or 9 years.
- PC 245(c) – Assault upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, or by any means likely to produce great bodily injury while the peace officer or firefighter is clearly engaged in the performance of his/her duties is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 3 to 5 years.
- PC 245(d) – Assault upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter with a firearm while the peace officer or firefighter is clearly engaged in the performance of his/her duties is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6 or 8 years.
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Building a Strong Legal Defense
Defending against assault charges requires a strong legal background involving violent crimes and a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system. If you hire the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our lead attorney will utilize a variety of resources to develop a legal defense that results in a reduced sentence or total dismissal of your charges. Arguments that we can employ include:
- Self-Defense: Many California residents have heard the term self-defense but may not fully understand what it means under the law. For your attorney to successfully employ a self-defense argument, he must demonstrate that the force you demonstrated in defending yourself or another individual with a deadly weapon was justified under the circumstances in order to prevent further injury. If the assailant involved in this incident was also wielding a deadly weapon, this argument could be valid in court.
- Lack of a Deadly Weapon: The key element to these cases are the weapons involved, which may not be applicable under the law. Deadly weapons are outlined in California Penal Code (PC) Section 16590 and, while some descriptions may be broad, there are still a number of objects and instruments that do not fall under the legal definitions. In addition, your attorney may demonstrate that no weapon was involved in the crime and have the charges reduced to a standard assault case.
- False Accusation: An assault can be a complicated affair and witnesses may miss key details in identifying who was involved. They may misconstrue who started a fight, accuse someone who looks similar to the actual assailant, or claim a weapon was involved when it was not. You may have an alibi that puts you away from the scene of the crime, which can also be employed to dismiss charges.
- Unwilling Actions: Assault is a voluntary crime and the prosecution must demonstrate that you acted willingly. If someone was injured at a shooting range or you accidentally struck someone at a softball game with your bat, then you could only be charged with negligence or carelessness, not assault.
How Can the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti Help You
Assault charges can be extremely damaging, featuring significant prison sentences and legal fees if convicted. However, assault with a deadly weapon charges can be resolved without a jail sentence or a conviction on your criminal record. To get the best outcome for your California assault with a deadly weapon charges, you need the help of a dedicated Orange County defense attorney. Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has a hard-earned reputation for getting assault charges lowered or dropped altogether.
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Contact an OC Assault with a Deadly Weapon Lawyer Today
The Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has the experience, knowledge, and skill you need to secure your freedom. We know the law and how to navigate the legal system on behalf of our clients in order to build a strong defense. Your future is important, so if you are facing serious charges involving a weapons offense, hire an Orange County assault with a deadly weapon attorney who can help you protect it by calling us today at (888) 478-8999.
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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.