An allegation of a deadly weapon assault is serious. If you are convicted of the offense, you may serve a long time in prison as well as face other severe punishments by the court. You should seek the services of a top-notch, professional criminal defense attorney to help you out in building a good defense and get through the criminal justice process.

Irrespective of the charges brought against you, our proficient legal experts at the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin will handle and represent your case in any court. Aside from representation, we will aggressively and skillfully defend you from wrongful accusations and possibly avoid the stringent penalties associated with the offense. We have been offering criminal defense services for many years to residents of Beverly Hills and the entire Los Angeles County.

Overview of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Under California Law

An assault with a deadly weapon, also known as 'ADW,' is defined under Penal Code Section 245 of California's law on Assault and Battery. An assault with a deadly weapon involves a brutal physical confrontation against another person with a weapon that is said to be dangerous as a result of the damage that may be caused to one's body.

The weapon in question may be any item or object that has the potential of being deadly. For a case whereby the accused is found with a rifle or a loaded firearm, it is crucial to articulate that it is not covered under the Penal Code Section 245. However, the gun will be treated as a separate offense, thus leading to more severe and harsh penalties.

According to the laws of California, a deadly weapon is redefined as an object that is used in a manner that may cause harm or is more likely to cause significant damage to the physical body or death of the other individual. This could be a knife, a bottle, blunt object, rifle, just to mention a few. One could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon based on varying situations.

Take an example of a bar; people may be enjoying their drinks, watching football. Then all of a sudden, two men engage in a heated argument causing mayhem in the pub. One of the men infuriated by the other man's remarks decides to hit him on the head with a bottle of beer.

The physical contact against the other man with the bottle will, therefore in this situation be used to incriminate him as an assault with a deadly weapon. Other causes may be a neighbor instructing his ferocious dog to assault another neighbor, a couple fighting, and one ends up stabbing the other with a screwdriver just to point out a few examples. The charges as illustrated earlier may be categorized into two;

A Conviction for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon

This involves the action of assault accompanied by a deadly object. For the defendant to be convicted of the charge, your defense attorney will challenge the prosecutor to prove if;

  • The nature of the defendant's actions inflicted a direct and probable injurious outcome as a result of the force applied to the other person.
  • If the plaintiff consigned the act knowingly by means of a deadly weapon.

Assault with force to cause severe physical harm

It is fundamental to seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that is well conversant with such cases. For instance, a legal professional will be aware of the assault charges and aggressively strive to challenge the prosecutors to provide proof beyond the actions of the accused towards the claims. Thus, in this case, prosecutors must prove;

  • That the force applied by the accused was enough to produce great harm to the other person.
  • The defendant willingly committed an act that would result in harm as a result of the force applied.
  • You could apply such force.
  • You were aware of your actions and knew what the outcome would result in.

Such acts may not necessarily involve a weapon. However, it may include some kind of item or hands to inflict force that may cause harm and damage to the other party. For example, a person with martial arts mastery is assaulting another person.

Common Defenses for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Just because you're charged with a deadly weapon assault doesn't mean you're going to be convicted of the crime. The prosecution needs to prove that you are guilty. You are legally entitled to offer a defense to make it as difficult as possible for the prosecution to work. A legal expert will approach the case based on the following arguments;

Lack of required intent

An assault with a deadly weapon is basically an intentional crime by the defendant. This being one of the essential elements, this means that the two parties must have conflicted for the action to be taken, which knowingly caused the defendant to use force to inflict significant harm on the defendant's body. The criminal defense attorney will, therefore, challenge the case of the prosecution by arguing that the victim misinterpreted the actions of the defendant as it was not intended to occur.

False accusation

This is a common issue of someone being falsely levied allegations for a crime they did not commit. Such situations may arise when either the eyewitnesses pinpointed the wrong person, an act of jealousy, revenge, or anger. It happens, and our attorneys can prove that you were an innocent person falsely charged with a crime. By collecting exculpatory evidence, such as phone logs, texts, emails, and eyewitness accounts, we may be able to prove a false charge.


Since an assault with a deadly weapon is generally cataloged to being an intentional act by law, the prosecutors may allude that the defendant intended to act that way. Subsequently, your qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may as well argue that the victim misinterpreted your intentions as you inflicted the harm as a result of an accident. For instance, you were teaching the victim how to play baseball, and accidentally the baseball bat hits the victim's hand accidentally during the training session.


Most assaults are aggravated by either incitement or heated argument flanked by the accused and the victim. However, for an assault with a deadly weapon, the crime is generally an intentional one under the law. Thus the prosecutor must defend that the accused did not take action out of self-protection from the victim. In such situations, your criminal defense attorney may argue that the only justification that you used a deadly weapon was to defend yourself.

In order to use this protection, our legal expertise should be able to show that you had a reasonable belief that you or someone else were in imminent danger of causing bodily injury and that you also had a reasonable belief that the urgent use of aggression was necessary to protect yourself or others from risk, or that you did not apply more force than is necessary.

What Are The Penalties For Penal Code 245 Assault With a Deadly Weapon?

Unlike many other regulations in California, assault with a deadly weapon is also classified as a 'wobbler.' This is because the courts may charge the defendant's violation as either a misdemeanor or a felony crime.

Such a conviction depends on a number of circumstances, like the severity of your case and any existence of a criminal record, or a prior conviction. The 'deadly weapon' used by the defendant will also significantly influence the prosecutor's decision on the path to take for the Assault with a Deadly Weapon case.

If the defendant is found guilty of his/her charges and faces a misdemeanor conviction under the Criminal Code Section 254 of Assault with a Deadly Weapon, those penalties shall include;

  • Serving time in State county penitentiary for a period of up to 364 days.
  • Payment of a fine summing up to $1,000, as well as,
  • Participating, mandatorily, in a misdemeanor probation program (Summary).

On the other hand, if the accused is found guilty of the charges brought against him and faces a conviction under the Criminal Code Section 245 of the Assault with a Deadly Weapon, the penalties shall include;

  • Facing time in State prison for a period ranging between two to four years.
  • Payment of fines amounting to $10,000, as well as,
  • Mandatory participation in felony probation (Formal).

Aside from the legal penalties to the defendant, the court could, to some extent, order the accused to pay the victim for the damages caused. The restitution to the victim may necessitate covering the medical expenses incurred from the confrontation.

Thus if you or a loved one is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon or battery, feel free to consult a professional criminal attorney immediately for prompt help. We will strive at all costs to defend your rights and formulate a credible defense strategy to beat the prosecutor's case. Again based on your offense, we will vehemently lend a hand in representing you in courts and ensure you possibly avoid the harsh penalty associated with the crime.

Related Offenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Crime

The circumstances surrounding the crime shall determine the charges against you in all cases involving the assault. Some assault offenses are considered to be less severe than others, and the penalties are different. Here are some of the assault crimes related to assault with a deadly weapon crime.

A Simple Assault

The aspects of a simple assault are more or less similar to an assault with a deadly weapon. Unlike the subject matter making use of a weapon while confronting the other party, a simple assault neither requires a weapon or physical force. It falls under California's Law Penal Code Section 240. If caught violating the Penal Code Section 240, Simple Assault, the defendant will be charged as a misdemeanor. One is likely to face time in a State County jail for six months. The sentence also comes in hand with a fine summing up to $1,000.

Brandishing a firearm

This falls under California's Penal code Section 417. The law prohibits the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon. It is well known as brandishing. One is likely to be charged with this offense in a situation whereby you are found brandishing a firearm in an angry, threatening, or offensive way that may cause tension to the other party/alleged victim.

Prosecution of such a violation may attract serving time in State Prison for a period ranging from six months to a year. Note that this may depend on the level and severity of the offenses. Note that brandishing a firearm offense carries a bit lighter penalties than an assault with a deadly weapon. Thus, a defendant, via a criminal defense attorney, may plead with the court for lighter sanctions against the charges.

 Assault of a public official

This is a severe crime compared to an assault with a deadly weapon. Infringement of the Penal Code Section 217 involves a confrontation towards a public official or a member of a public official's immediate relative in a row to hit back or avert the performance of the official's contractual obligations. The law catalogs a public official as an individual that is a member of the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government, as well as prosecutors and public defenders. A violation of the Penal Code Section 217 is likely to face either a misdemeanor or felony charge.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

An assault with a deadly weapon being a severe crime, one must take care of the charges without delay. You will, therefore, need to confirm the services of a professional and highly qualified criminal defense attorney to assist you with the defense. The attorney should be knowledgeable about California's criminal law and be able to use the most appropriate defense strategies reflecting on the specific details of your case, and that's what you get when you work with the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin. Call us today at 310-273-9600, if you have been charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon.