What is a Deadly Weapon under California Assault with a Deadly Weapon Laws? (PC 245)
When you think of assault with a deadly weapon, you may think that a “deadly weapon” could only mean a gun or a knife. However, California assault with a deadly weapon laws are much broader and cover any instrument used in a deadly manner.
Prosecution of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
In order to be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in violation of California Penal Code Section 245, the prosecution must show that you:
- Acted with a deadly weapon other than a firearm OR used force that by its nature would likely result in great bodily injury; AND
- Acted in a willful and purposeful manner; AND
- Reasonably knew that your actions would result in the application of force on another; AND
- Had the present ability to apply force with a deadly weapon or in a manner likely cause great bodily injury.
It is not required that you actually injured the other person, or that you intended to injure that person, or that you even touched them.1 So if you use a deadly weapon in order to frighten or intimidate someone, then you could still be convicted of this crime.
Objects Considered to Be Deadly
A loaded firearm is not covered under this law because there is a separate assault with a firearm charge that has even stricter penalties.2 So what is covered?
Under the law, almost anything can be considered a deadly weapon as long as it has the potential to be deadly. The law defines a deadly weapon as “any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly or one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury.”3
Some examples of potentially deadly weapons:
- Unloaded firearm used to club someone
- A baseball bat
- A knife
- A vicious dog where you know of its violent tendencies
- Using your fists or foot to punch or kick someone
- Throwing chemicals at someone
- A coffee mug; OR
- Any blunt object capable of causing serious harm to someone
Punishment for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon is a wobbler in California, meaning that you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your case. How you are charged will also depend on:
- Who you’re accused of assaulting
- The extent of any injuries sustained by the victim, and
- What deadly weapon you used
Generally, if you’re convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, you will be facing up to 364 days in county jail, and could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.4
If you used force likely to produce great bodily injury, you could be charged with a felony. For a felony conviction, you could be sentenced anywhere to up to four years in state prison and be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.5
In addition, the court could order you to pay restitution to the victim, which could include any medical expenses incurred stemming from the assault.
Call an Experienced Assault Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in California, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing assault charges for over 40 years. We will meet with you to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the best outcome possible.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
2. [Cal. Pen. Code § 245(a)(2)]↩
4. [Cal. Pen. Code § 245(a)(1)]↩
5. [Cal. Pen. Code § 245(a)(4)]↩