What Is “Assault With A Deadly Weapon”?

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“Assault with a deadly weapon” (ADW) occurs when you assault someone with a “deadly weapon” or force likely to cause severe injury to the other individual. Under California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1), a “deadly weapon” is an object with the potential to cause severe injury or death. This includes obvious objects like knives and baseball bats, as well as everyday items that you may not think of as deadly such as rocks, pencils, boots, high heels, and so on. When these seemingly innocent objects are used in a certain manner with enough force, they can become deadly. 

The prosecutor can charge you with aggravated assault, even if the victim wasn’t injured or touched. If you used a deadly weapon to cause someone fear of immediate harm, the prosecution can charge you with ADW in Riverside. To convict you of assault with a deadly weapon under PC 245, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Committed a physical act that would likely result in the application of force on another person
  • Used a deadly weapon or force that would likely produce great bodily injury
  • Acted willfully (on purpose)
  • Possessed the ability to apply force or use a deadly weapon to cause serious bodily injury
  • Had no reason to defend yourself or another person from imminent harm

Aggravated Assault Charges | PC 245

Assault with a deadly weapon is an aggravated assault crime, which means it is more severe than simple assault and involves a clear intent to cause significant bodily injury to another individual. Under the subsections of California PC 245, there are many types of aggravated assault crimes including:

  • PC 245(a)(1) – Assault With a Deadly Weapon
  • PC 245(a)(2) – Assault With a Firearm
  • PC 245(a)(3) – Assault With an Assault Weapon
  • PC 245(a)(4) – Assault with Force Likely To Cause Great Bodily Injury
  • PC 245(b) – Assault with a Semi-Automatic Firearm

Assault With A Deadly Weapon Penalties | What You’re Facing

The prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony for aggravated assault depending on the following factors:

  • Your criminal record
  • The severity of your alleged actions
  • Type of deadly weapon involved
  • The severity of the victim’s injuries 

If you’re charged with an aggravated assault crime in Riverside, you face severe penalties. To avoid years behind bars, you need a team of experienced assault attorneys. The penalties for assault with a deadly weapon and other aggravated assault crimes in Riverside are outlined below. 

Assault With A Deadly Weapon | PC 245(A)(1)

  • A strike on your record (felony) California’s Three Strikes Law 
  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison (Felony)
  • Up to 1 year in county jail (Misdemeanor) 
  • Maximum fine of $10,000
  • Combination of imprisonment and fine
  • Restitution for the victim’s medical bills and/or other damages

Assault With A Firearm | PC 245(A)(2)

  • A strike on your record (Felony) 
  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison (Felony)
  • Up to 1 year in county jail (Misdemeanor) 
  • Maximum fine of $10,000
  • Combination of imprisonment and fine

Assault With An Assault Weapon | PC 245(A)(3)

  • A strike on your record (Felony) 
  • 4, 8, or 12 years in state prison (Felony)

Assault With Force Likely To Cause Great Bodily Injury | PC 245(A)(4)

  • A strike on your record (Felony) 
  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison (Felony)
  • 1 year in county jail (Misdemeanor)
  • Maximum fine of $10,000
  • Imprisonment and fine

Assault With A Semi-Automatic Firearm | PC 245(B)

  • A strike on your record (Felony) 
  • 3, 6, or 9 Years in state prison (Felony)

Professional and Personal Consequences 

An aggravated assault conviction can destroy your reputation due to the violent nature of the crime. People often judge others solely based on their past, so you may find it difficult to build relationships or share your story with others. When you are looking for decent housing and employment, you won’t be able to keep your criminal record a secret. After running a background check, potential landlords and employers are likely to pass your over for someone with a clean record. This not only makes it hard to care for yourself, but it also interferes with your ability to provide for your family. To make matters worse, you may be required to pay expensive fines and restitution as well. 

If you’re accused of aggravated assault, there’s no time to waste. It’s crucial to contact a skilled assault defense attorney without delay. At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that your future is at stake. With over 40 years of experience, our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended thousands of clients charged with assault in Riverside. When you trust us with your assault case, we aggressively fight to prove your innocence and keep you out of jail. Don’t settle for less. Contact us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation. 

How We Can Help Protect You | Possible Defenses

When you’re accused of a serious crime like aggravated assault, it may seem like there’s no chance of avoiding conviction. However, our Riverside assault attorneys can identify strengths and build your defense around those facts, even in the most complex assault cases. While many lawyers can list the available defenses for aggravated assault, very few can effectively present them in court. At Wallin & Klarich, our experienced defense attorneys know how to deliver convincing arguments in court to get you results. Over the course of 40 years, we’ve used many defense strategies for assault with a deadly weapon, some of which include (but are not limited to):


We’ve argued self-defense in many aggravated assault cases with successful results. If someone is attacking you, it is your right to defend yourself from harm or injury with reasonable force. Your attorney will argue that you had a reason to believe you were in imminent danger of suffering serious injury. He/she will also argue that the only available option was to defend yourself with a deadly weapon. This presents a challenge to the prosecution because they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not defending yourself. 

For example, you are outside in your garage, when your drunk neighbor comes over and pulls out a knife. He starts screaming that he’s going to kill you and comes toward you. There is a hammer nearby, so you grab it and swing which makes him back off. He leaves and calls the police. When they arrive, you’re arrested for assault with a deadly weapon even though you didn’t hit him. In this case, you used self-defense because there was an immediate threat of being killed.

Lack Of Intent

For a conviction, the prosecutor must prove your willful intent to cause harm with a deadly weapon. To show a lack of intent, your defense attorney will present evidence that your actions were either accidental or misunderstood. If we can show that you had no intention to cause bodily harm to someone else, lack of intent is a solid defense. For example, one of our clients was accused of assaulting a family member with a knife because she pointed it at the victim. In this case, we showed evidence that she was using the knife and she didn’t point the knife at the victim on purpose.

False Identification

False identifications happen all the time, even in cases where it is impossible for the accused to have committed the crime. If this is true in your case, your criminal defense attorney will gather evidence to show you did not assault anyone with a deadly weapon. For example, you start a new job and get into a heated argument with your boss. A few days later, someone around your size and build waits for him outside his store and threatens him with a gun. He calls the police and says he thinks it was you, but you were in another state at the time of the crime. Your defense attorney can present witnesses that were with you at the time and receipts from purchases in the other state to prove the alleged victim falsely identified you. 

False Allegation

False allegations occur more often than some people think. In an aggravated assault case, the alleged victim may create a false story and report it to the police due to anger, jealousy, or revenge. For example, your coworker is mad because you got promoted even though he works longer hours than you. You get into an argument outside of work and he calls the police later that night and tells them you came at him with a knife. We may be able to show your coworkers’ motivation by presenting witnesses and text messages highlighting his jealousy of you. 

When we are representing a client accused of aggravated assault, we look at all the details of the case, including the credibility of the alleged victim. If you’re falsely accused of aggravated assault, you should contact Wallin & Klarich immediately. We have the skill and experience to effectively present this defense in court. 

Non-Lethal Weapon Used

The prosecution must prove that the weapon used was deadly or could cause severe injury if used in a specific way. In some cases, our attorneys may argue the item you used did not meet the requirements of a “deadly weapon” under PC 245. 

Hiring A Riverside Defense Attorney | How We Can Help You

When you’re facing criminal charges, it’s extremely important to hire a skilled attorney with a history of success in the courtroom. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe four (4) key aspects separate an average attorney from the best defense attorney. 

  1.   Experience
  2.   Communication
  3.   Track record
  4.   Ethos – Credibility

Wallin & Klarich | 40+ Years of Experience Defending Assault Charges

With over 40 years of experience defending clients accused of assault with a deadly weapon, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich understand the different strategies that work in the courtroom based on the details of each case. We’re also familiar with the prosecutors, which gives us the advantage of knowing their strategies as well. Our real-world experience allows us to craft a strong defense, greatly increasing your chance of success. 

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way 

At Wallin & Klarich, communication and transparency are the foundation of our success. It’s easy for clients to get lost in all the paperwork and legality. We want you to know what’s happening with your case, so we keep communication open and honest, taking the time to listen and address your concerns. This is why so many people choose our attorneys when they’re facing accusations of aggravated assault in Riverside. With 24/7 lines of communication and expert guidance throughout their legal journey, our clients are happier and more well-informed. Working together, we’re able to achieve the best results. 

Let’s begin building the strongest defense for your case. Give us a call at (877) 4-NO-JAIL.

Track Record of Success | Wallin & Klarich History of Winning Cases

Anyone can say they’re successful, but tangible results speak for themselves. We want you to be just as confident in our abilities as we are, so we invite you to look at some of our client’s success stories and big wins in the courtroom. 

Reputation & Ethos | Wallin & Klarich A Reputation You Want on Your Side

With hundreds of lawyers claiming to have extensive experience defending clients charged with assault in Riverside, it is challenging to choose the right law firm to defend you. For more than 40 years, we’ve defended cases involving assault, and many of our cases have been featured on television, in newspapers, and throughout the internet. Check out some of our most notable cases below.

Riverside Office
7177 Brockton Avenue
Suite 339

Riverside, CA 92506
(951) 684-3340
(888) 749-0034
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17592 Irvine Blvd
Tustin, CA 92780
(619) 404-2464
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41319 12th Street West
Suite 101
Palmdale, CA 93551
(619) 404-2464
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1499 Huntington Dr
Ste 402
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(619) 404-2464
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7177 Brockton Avenue
Suite 339
Riverside, CA 92506
(951) 684-3340,
(888) 749-0034


334 W. 3rd Street,
Suite 207B
San Bernardino, CA 92401
(909) 383-1867
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444 W. C Street
Suite 410
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 383-3200
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21151 S. Western Ave.
Suite 233,
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 527-5500
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15437 Anacapa Road
Suite 12
Victorville, CA 92392
(760) 245-3045
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1619 West Garvey Ave.
Suite 107
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 480-1356
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400 S. 2nd Ave.,
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Barstow, California 92311
(760) 389-0338
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