September 5, 2018 By Paul Wallin

Is Your Car Key a Deadly Weapon? (PC 245(a)(1))

When you hear the term “assault with a deadly weapon,” what probably comes to mind is someone using a gun or a knife in an attempt to harm another person. However, “deadly weapons” are not just those things designed to be wielded as weapons. As a recent ruling in a California case shows, just about any object that could cause an injury with enough force behind it can be considered a deadly weapon under PC 245(a)(1), even your car keys.

When a Car Key is a Deadly Weapon

Brian Koback walked into a rental car business, stole car keys and attempted to leave. When the employees confronted him, he verbally threatened them, tucked the ignition key between his knuckles and balled his fist around the key fob. He then took a swing at one of the employees with his fist, but he missed. He fled the scene, but was arrested by police soon thereafter.

As a result of this incident, Koback was convicted of robbery, resisting arrest and assault with a deadly. But what was the deadly weapon? In this case, he used car keys and his fist to create a makeshift weapon.

He appealed his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon under PC 245(a)(1), but the California Court of Appeals recently upheld his conviction.

In its opinion, the court explained, “A car key is not an inherently deadly or dangerous weapon, but if wielded as a makeshift weapon with sufficient force at close range, as defendant did here, a key is capable of puncturing skin and causing serious bodily injury.”

The Crime of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245(a)(1))

Under PC 245(a)(1), a “deadly weapon” is “any object, instrument, or weapon which is used in such a manner as to be capable of producing and likely to produce, death or great bodily injury.”

When determining whether an object should be considered a deadly weapon, the court will look at whether the object was used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily injury.

Koback placed the car key between his knuckles, essentially giving himself a sharp object to attack the employees. The court determined that, swung with enough force, Koback could have caused a severe injury with the key had he made contact. Therefore, the key was considered a deadly weapon. As a result, Koback’s assault with a deadly weapon conviction was upheld.

Punishment for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

The penalty for assault with a deadly weapon can be severe. The crime is a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of your case.

Misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon is punishable by up to 364 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. For felony assault with a deadly weapon involving an object that is not a firearm, you face up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Speak to Our Assault with a Deadly Weapon Lawyers Today

If you or someone you care about is facing charges for assault with a deadly weapon, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal attorneys have more than 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing charges for assault with a deadly weapon. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich assault with a deadly weapon attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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