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Assault with a Deadly Weapon in California

Santa Barbara County Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defense

Assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) is a serious offense that may be filed as either a felony or misdemeanor in California, depending on the facts of the case. Conviction of assault with a deadly weapon could mean a lengthy term in a California prison and fines. If you or your loved one has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, your liberty depends on the skill of the criminal defense attorney who you pick to represent you and develop your defense.

Santa Barbara Criminal defense attorney Steven R. Andrade is a former prosecutor and he knows how prosecutors approach cases. He puts that knowledge to work to fight aggressively to protect client’s rights and freedom. He knows how police are supposed to conduct investigations and how to challenge evidence that has been procured through illegal searches and interrogations. Attorney Andrade knows how to develop an effective defense strategy to reach the best results. The legal team at Andrade Law Offices has successfully resolved thousands of criminal charges for clients.

Considering the harsh penalties that await should you be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in California, you should turn to a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney whose courtroom skills are highly regarded and who has an extensive record of success in defending clients throughout Southern California.

California’s Definition of Assault with a Deadly Weapon  

California Penal Code 245 (a) (1) defines ADW as an unlawful attempt to cause great injury to another person using a weapon or instrument other than a firearm. Assault with a firearm is treated separately.

Under California criminal statutes, the deadly weapon can be almost anything that can inflict serious bodily injury including a motor vehicle, baseball bat, kitchen knife, tool such as a hammer or screwdriver, tire iron, stick, rock, beer bottle or vicious dog that you use to attack someone.

If the assault allegedly involved a firearm, the type of charge would depend in part on the type of firearm used. In bringing an ADW charge, prosecutors consider the type of weapon, whether anyone was harmed and whether the person assaulted was a law enforcement officer or other person afforded special protections by California law.

If the alleged assault involved a typical firearm, the charge may be either a misdemeanor or felony. However, if the deadly weapon was a semi-automatic weapon, assault weapon, machine gun or .50 caliber machine gun, the alleged offense will be charged as a felony.

Prosecutors who are pressing charges only have the police version of events, and police may not provide information that contradicts their theory of what occurred. You need a skilled Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney on your side to make sure your side of what happened is presented, not just the police version.

Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

The penalty for conviction of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm is imprisonment for two to four years in a state prison, or, if the charge is misdemeanor, for up to a year in a county jail.

If the alleged assault involved a firearm, the punishment may be up to four years in state prison for a felony conviction or up to a year in county jail if the charge is a misdemeanor, in addition to fines. The punishment is up to nine years in prison if the weapon involved is a semi automatic weapon. If the assault involves an assault weapon such as a machine gun or .50 caliber machine gun, the punishment may be up to 12 years in prison.

The punishments are more severe if the person assaulted with a deadly weapon was a law enforcement officer, firefighter, bus or taxi driver, or other protected person.

Conviction of assault with a deadly weapon also may be counted as a strike in California’s Three Strikes Law. If you have a strike conviction on your record, you will face enhanced penalties for a subsequent conviction.

Defense of an ADW Charge

An assault with a deadly weapon charge is serious, but not insurmountable with a skilled criminal defense lawyer working the case. We know that from having successfully represented clients facing the charge.

There are a number of valid defenses that may be employed to rebut a charge of ADW. They include:

Self defense may be an effective defense if we can show that you feared for your life and you used only the force necessary to defend yourself or defend others.

You may be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, even if no one was actually harmed. You may be falsely accused of committing an assault with a deadly weapon by someone who has a vendetta against you and wants revenge.

An element of the California Penal Code 245 (a) (1) definition of ADW is that the person acted with willful intent. If you threw an object without specifically intending to harm someone, you may have acted carelessly but your actions do not represent assault with a deadly weapon.

Steven Andrade is known for being willing to take any case to trial because he has full confidence in his courtroom skills and command of California’s criminal law.  California’s criminal justice system is harsh and can affect the rest of your life, even for first time offenders. The skill of the criminal defense lawyer you choose will determine in large part the outcome of your case.

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Santa Barbara or anywhere in Southern California, contact Andrade Law Offices now for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. We respond to phone calls 24/7.