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Assault With a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a Deadly Weapon - Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC 

Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) defines assault with a deadly weapon, commonly referred to as AWD or aggravated assault, as committing an assault with a deadly weapon likely to cause great bodily injury.

Assault with a deadly weapon is normally charged when there is an unlawful attempt to injure another individual by using a deadly weapon.

A “deadly weapon” is anything that could be used as a weapon that can cause serious injuries, such as knives, bats, bricks, razor blades, and others.

Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines ADW as “Any person who commits an assault on another person with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, will be punished by imprisonment in a state prison for two, three, or four years, or a county jail for up to one year, or by a fine up to ($10,000), or both.”

Subsection (a)(1) of Section 245 says that anyone committing an assault with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm is guilty of a wobbler crime. If the PC 245(a)(1) case is initially charged as a felony, it can still be reduced to a misdemeanor using the following:

  • By plea negotiations with the prosecutor, or
  • A Penal Code 17b PC motion to reduce in court.

If convicted of ADW as a misdemeanor, the penalties are up to one year in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If convicted of assault with a deadly weapon as a felony, the penalties are two, three, or four years in a California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

ADW is a straight felony crime if the victim is a police officer or firefighter and is punishable by up to five years in prison. If an actual firearm was used, it's punishable by up to 12 years in prison. If charged with this crime, you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to defend such a charge.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charge

AWD is a wobbler offense, meaning that depending on the circumstances, the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is based on the type of weapon/instrument used; whether the person assaulted sustained an injury; and the status of the victim.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon - Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC 

As these factors are taken into consideration, a conviction for AWD may result in anywhere from 24 to 144 months in prison. 

Another closely related Penal Code 245(a)(4) PC is the statute used by prosecutors to charge somebody with aggravated assault. Under subsection (a)(4), the prosecutor must prove that you used sufficient force on the victim that was likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI), which is described as a significant injury. 

While this subsection (a)(4) falls under PC 245 assault with a deadly weapon statute, the prosecutor is not required to prove the defendant was armed with a weapon. 

Common defenses to AWD are self-defense, defenses of others, consent, lack of intent, insufficient evidence, constitutional violations by police officers, and inability to carry out the assault, such as threatening to shoot with an unloaded gun. We understand how to defend each of these charges.

What are the Related Crimes?

  • Penal Code 217.1 PC – assault on a public officer,
  • Penal Code 240 PC – simple assault,
  • Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
  • Penal Code 243(b) and (c) – assault on a police officer,
  • Penal Code 244 PC - assault with caustic chemicals,
  • Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a weapon,
  • Penal Code 664/187 PC – attempted murder.

How to Get the Best Result in an ADW Case?

These California Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC assault with deadly weapon (ADW) cases are very serious because they're strikes and violent felonies, and anybody convicted of an ADW case will be facing prison time and a strike on their record.

If you stay in California, under the three-strikes law, you'll always have that strike.  You can't get it knocked off of your criminal record.

So, figuring out the best way to handle them makes much sense.  Step one is to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find.  I've been doing this for 30 years now.  I've worked for the district attorney's office, I've worked for a superior court judge, and I've been defending people just like you since the early 1990s. 

Initial Review of Case Details

What I have you do is come into the office, and we sit down and go over all of the facts and the details of the assault with a deadly weapon case, and we talk about how we can get the best result.

Whether it's a case, we'll take it to trial, prepare a strong investigation, and get the case ready to fight it in front of a jury.  We'll do the preliminary hearing and try to damage the prosecutor's case before we proceed to trial.

Mitigation Package

If, on the other hand, it's the type of case that we need to negotiate because they do have evidence against you, we'll try to get a charge other than assault with a deadly weapon so we can avoid the strike and the usual prison term that comes along with it.  In mitigating the case, we will do the following:

  • we're going to want to get character letters,
  • show that you have a job, and
  • try to convince the prosecutor that there's another side to the story, and
  • there was a one-sided investigation by the police, giving them the other angle of what was happening.

We generally do these types of things when defending our clients in an assault with a deadly weapon case.

Experienced Defense Matters

Of course, the most important thing is that I talk to you and get your perspective, and then you and I come to a meeting of the minds on exactly how we will defend the case:

  • What we're going to do?
  • What information do I need to ensure you get the best result?

That's why I encourage you to tell me what happened.  Give me all the facts and details so I can best represent you, and be prepared when the prosecutors make their arguments to the judge and when I speak to the supervisor about what we can do to resolve the case.

So, if you need the best or a loved one is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. 

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