Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon (also known as aggravated assault) is a separate criminal charge from simple assault, and much more serious. Where basic assault is a misdemeanor with a maximum of six months in jail, assault with a deadly weapon can be charged as a felony carrying several years in prison. In addition, it is often a "strike" crime, which means a first conviction sets you up for substantially greater penalties down the line, if you get into more legal trouble. That is why our Riverside assault with a deadly weapon defense attorneys take aggravated assault very seriously.
Assault with a deadly weapon is defined as assault with one of several kinds of weapons, or any assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury to another. "Deadly weapons," as defined by California law, do not have to be guns and knives. You can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon in incidents involving cars, dogs, rocks or anything else that can badly hurt someone if used as a weapon. Your own body does not count as a deadly weapon by itself, but an attack using only your body can still merit an aggravated assault charge if you used it in a way likely to cause substantial harm to another person.
Importantly, you do not necessarily need to have caused the "substantial harm." All prosecutors need for an assault with a deadly weapon charge is to show that your actions were likely to cause that harm. Unfortunately, individual judges and juries decide what counts as substantial harm. However, the law is clear that this harm must not be small and easily healed.
Basic assault with a deadly weapon, with or without a firearm, carries up to a year in jail (as a misdemeanor) or two, three or four years in prison (as a felony). But stiffer sentences are available for aggravated assault against police officers and certain other public employees, and with certain weapons, such as:
- A machine gun, assault rifle or .50 BMG rifle
- A semiautomatic firearm
- A stun gun or taser
- Acid or flammable substances
Because these charges are so serious and can count as a "strike" under the three-strikes law, it's absolutely essential to make sure you hire an experienced Los Angeles County aggravated assault lawyer. These charges are serious, but the law gives our Los Angeles County aggravated assault lawyers multiple ways to defend clients. As with basic assault, prosecutors must prove that you had the ability to carry out the assault, as well as the intent to do so. It's easy to imagine that this might not be true -- for example, in a case where someone was accidentally hurt or where you acted in self-defense. We can raise these and other defenses against an unfair, overzealous prosecution and use them to argue for dropped or reduced charges. Whenever possible, we also argue for reductions of felonies to misdemeanors to prevent a strike from going on the client's record.
HOWARD LAW, PC defends assault with a deadly weapon cases with the seriousness they deserve. To learn more about how we can help or set up a consultation, call us today at 1-800-872-5925 or send us an email through our site.