San Bernardino Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney
2020, the first year of the global coronavirus pandemic, was a tough year for everyone, and crime statistics in California reflect that fact. That same year, homicides in our state experienced the greatest spike since record-keeping started back in 1960!
Unfortunately, deadly weapons, especially firearms, drove much of that increase.
Local courts here in San Bernardino are well aware of that fact. That’s why assault with a deadly weapon in San Bernardino will be taken very seriously by the local prosecution. If you’ve recently been arrested, then it’s vital for you to understand the charges you’re facing, the possible criminal penalties you could get sentenced to, and how to defend yourself. Learn everything you need to know and where to get one-on-one legal help right here.
What is Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Assault with a deadly weapon is defined in California Penal Code section 245. According to the code, it’s illegal in California to:
- Commit an act of physical force against someone else that would likely result in the application of force
- Commit an act of physical force with a deadly weapon
- Commit the act of physical force on purpose
Types of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges
There are different sections of PC 245 that describe what the law considers a deadly weapon. Here are the different types of deadly weapons as defined by Penal Code section 245:
- California Penal Code 245(a)(1): Assault With a Deadly Weapon
- California Penal Code 245(a)(2): Assault With a Firearm
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(3): Assault With an Assault Weapon
- California Penal Code Section 245(a)(4): Assault With Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury
- California Penal Code Section 245(b): Assault With a Semi-Automatic Firearm
Assault With a Deadly Weapon Penalties: What You’re Facing
In San Bernardino, assault with a deadly weapon can be levied as either a misdemeanor or a felony crime. A felony charge will be much more serious, and it will come with heavier criminal penalties. The Prosecution has the discretion to determine whether to charge you with a felony or misdemeanor charge based on the following factors:
Factors Courts Will Consider
- Your previous criminal record
- The type of deadly weapon you allegedly used
- The severity of the alleged physical act you committed
- The other party’s alleged injuries
Criminal Penalties for PC 245(a)(1) | Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Violating PC 245(a)(1) as a misdemeanor could result in up to one year of imprisonment in county jail. A felony violation could land you in state prison for up to 4 years. On top of that, you may also be fined up to $10,000 and get held financially responsible for the other party’s medical bills.
Criminal Penalties for PC 245(a)(2) | Assault with a Firearm
Violating PC 245(a)(2) as a misdemeanor means up to one year in county jail, whereas a felony violation could land you in state prison for up to four years. You could also get fined up to $10,000.
Criminal Penalties for PC 245(a)(3) | Assault with an Assault Weapon
Violating PC 245(a)(3) is always charged as a felony offense. This very severe crime could land you in state prison for up to 12 years.
Criminal Penalties for PC 245(a)(4) | Assault Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury
PC 245(a)(4) violations that are charged as a misdemeanor could mean up to one year in jail and fines of up to $10,000. As a felony offense, you could remain in state prison for up to four years.
Criminal Penalties for PC 245(b) | Assault with a Semi-Automatic Firearm
Violating PC 245(b) will always be charged as a felony crime. That means a violation could result in imprisonment in state prison for up to 9 years.
With any felony convictions, there may be secondary consequences, such as the forfeiture of your right to bear arms or forfeiture of eligibility for certain jobs.
Professional and Personal Consequences of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charge
Criminal penalties aren’t the only consequences you’ll face if you get convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Bernardino. Once you’ve served out your sentence, your conviction will continue to impact your professional and personal life. You’ll have to disclose your conviction when applying for jobs and often detail what happened due to the violent nature of it.
Possible Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges in San Bernardino
The good news is that you still have the opportunity to defend yourself in court after your arrest. You’re still considered innocent until you’re convicted. If you can formulate a solid defense strategy before your hearing, then you might be able to reduce or eliminate your charges altogether.
Here are some of the most common and most successful defenses to assault with assault with a deadly weapon charges in San Bernardino:
Per California law, it’s reasonable to use force against someone else when you have a reason to believe they are going to use violent force against you. In other words, it’s a good legal strategy to argue that you were defending yourself from harm. If the other party had a weapon, too, then there’s a good chance you can argue that your use of force was justified and legal.
Lack of Intent
Another option is to argue that you did not willfully intend to harm the other person. For instance, if you were brandishing a firearm to “show off” to someone else and it goes off accidentally, then that wouldn’t necessarily be considered assault. Since intent is a necessary condition to be accused of this charge, this defense is especially potent in getting charges dropped or decreased to lesser charges.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The most common defense that we have found to be successful, is the illegal search and seizure argument. It is often for arresting officers to break the law and violate the rights of the defendant at some point throughout the arrest process. If this occurred, then we may be able to get your case dismissed, as the evidence gathered cannot be used against you in a court of law.
Hiring Defense Attorney in San Bernardino | How We Can Help
The defense strategies listed above may not be the only options available to you. Every arrest and alleged criminal behavior plays out differently based on different circumstances of the case, so there is no one-size-fits-all defense strategy. The best defensive argument for your situation will depend on how your arrest happened, the evidence regarding the alleged actions you committed, and the facts surrounding your charges.
The best way to figure out which defensive argument will work best in your situation is to hire a defense attorney who can help you. Here at Wallin & Klarich, we believe the lawyer you hire should have the following qualities:
- Track record
- Ethos – credibility
Together, these qualities will help your lawyer determine your best course of action. That way, you’ll be provided with the best possible legal advice.
Have You Been Charged With Assault with a Deadly Weapon in San Bernardino?
If you or a loved one was recently charged with assault with a deadly weapon in San Bernardino, then it’s advised that you seek out legal counsel as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get legal help, the more time the Prosecution has to build up a case against you. Considering the severity of the potential criminal penalties you could face if convicted, it’s wise not to wait too long.
Here at Wallin & Klarich, we have over 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of assault with a deadly weapon in San Bernardino. To speak one-on-one with one of our lawyers, contact our office by visiting us online or by calling, toll-free (877) 4-NO-JAIL.
When you need our help, we’ll be here for you.