California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a Deadly Weapon

California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC makes it a crime for a person to commit an assault against another person while using a deadly weapon or instrument. An individual who assaults another person with a deadly weapon is guilty of a felony that’s punishable by up to four years in California State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. So, if you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, you should immediately contact an experienced assault defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Do not take an assault charge lightly as a conviction carries some serious prison time. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a Deadly Weapon

According to California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1), Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”

This criminal statute makes it a crime to use a firearm or any weapon that is likely to cause another person to suffer great bodily injury or death. This statute is a more serious version of an assault charge because it involves using a weapon that is likely to cause great bodily harm to another person. For example, if you pull out a gun and point it towards another person and shoots at him, he can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon because shooting at a person is something that is likely to cause great bodily harm and death.

Proving a Person Guilty of Assault with a Deadly Weapon

For the prosecution to prove an individual guilty of assault with a deadly weapon charge, the prosecution must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict an individual of assault. The prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant willfully used
  • A firearm, weapon, or force that is likely to produce great bodily harm
  • The defendant was aware that his actions would likely cause a reasonable person to believe that his application of force or use of a deadly weapon would result in the application of force to the alleged victim, and
  • At the time the defendant acted, he had the ability to use a deadly weapon or apply force likely to produce great bodily injury

Note: For the prosecution to convict an individual, it need not show that the defendant actually caused another party an injury, but rather that the defendant’s actions could have caused great bodily injury had the force or weapon actually been used on the alleged victim. As for the use of a deadly weapon, the defendant could have used an actual weapon or any instrument that’s used in a manner that’s capable of causing another person to suffer great bodily injury or death. For example, if you’re at a bar and you get into a fight with another person and you break a beer bottle and attempt to hit another person with it, the beer bottle could become a deadly weapon. So, you do not have to use a firearm or knife to commit assault with a deadly weapon.

Examples of Committing Assault with a Deadly Weapon

A man is a member of a gang, while driving home, he sees a man who belongs to a rival gang. So, the man speeds up to ram into the gang member. The gang member sees the vehicle coming towards him at a high rate of speed, and so he jumps out of the way. The man driving the vehicle can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon because had he hit the rival gang member, he probably would have caused him great bodily injury or death.

A man is drinking at a bar. A fight breaks out, so the man breaks his beer bottle on the bar counter and takes a few swings at some of the patrons. The man can be charged with and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon because a person who uses a broken beer bottle that has extremely sharp edges can use the bottle to kill someone or cause him great bodily injury.

A man is at a bar having some drinks with some friends. The man goes outside to smoke a cigarette, as he is outside he gets into a fight with another patron of the bar. The man punches the patron repeatedly, causing the patron to suffer from a broken jaw and brain injuries. The man can be charged with and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon because the acted of repeatedly punching the person satisfies the use of force likely to produce great bodily injury.

A man is out with some friends and gets into a fight with a man on the street. So, the man takes out his gun and fires a few rounds at the other man. He shots miss the man. The man who fired the shots can be charged with and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon even though he missed the intended target. This is so because the man used a deadly weapon that’s likely to cause great bodily injury or death to the intended target.

Penalties if a Person is Convicted of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges Under California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC

If the prosecution convicts an individual of assault with a deadly weapon charge, the person faces different consequences depending on whether the prosecution charged the assault with a deadly weapon as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon

  • Conviction of a felony offense
  • Imprisonment for up to four (4) years in California State Prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Felony formal probation
  • Loss of your right to own a firearm for life

Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
  • Up to one (1) year in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1000
  • Summary probation for three to five years
  • The potential loss of your right to own a firearm

Note: If the defendant used a firearm in the commission of an assault, he faces additional penalties. Also, if the defendant’s victim is a police officer, he also faces additional penalties. If the defendant used an ordinary firearm, the prosecution has the discretion to charge the assault with a deadly weapon as either a felony or a misdemeanor. However, if the defendant used a semiautomatic firearm, a machine gun, or assault rifle, the prosecution must charge the defendant with a felony. There is no option for a misdemeanor charge. The same applies if the defendant used an ordinary firearm to assault a police officer.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defenses

If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, there are a number of defenses that your attorney can use to defend. These defenses are only some of the defenses that may apply to your case, and this list is not exhaustive of all defenses that may be available to you. Here are some of the defenses your attorney can use to defend you:

  • The defendant acted in self-defense or the defense of others
  • The defendant did not use a deadly weapon, nor did he use deadly force
  • The defendant did not act willfully-meaning he did not have the intent to assault another person

Your attorney may be able to use other defenses to defend you. The only way to know which defenses apply to your case is to contact an experienced assault defense attorney at The H Law Group to look over the facts of your case to determine which defenses to use for you.

Contact an Experienced Assault Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, you should immediately contact an experienced assault defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and fight for you to keep you out of jail. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to best defend you. We have handled countless assault cases, so we are best suited to defend you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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