Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyer
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 state 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 you pick to represent you and develop your defense.
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney and founder of Andrade Law Offices, Steven R. Andrade, is a former prosecutor. He knows how prosecutors approach assault cases, and he puts that knowledge to work to fight aggressively to protect clients' rights and freedom. He knows how police are supposed to conduct criminal investigations. As such, Andrade understands how to challenge evidence that has been procured through illegal searches and interrogations. Our criminal lawyers know how to develop effective defense strategies to reach the best results. The legal team at Andrade Law Offices has successfully resolved thousands of criminal charges for clients, including assault.
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 assault with a deadly weapon as an unlawful attempt or threat to cause great injury to another person using a weapon or instrument other than a firearm. Assault with a firearm is charged separately.
Under California criminal statutes, a deadly weapon can be almost anything that can inflict serious bodily injury including:
- Motor vehicles
- Baseball bats
- Kitchen knives
- Tools such as hammers or screwdrivers
- Tire irons
- Sticks or rocks
- Beer bottles
- Vicious dogs
Assault with a Firearm
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 law enforcement's version of events, and police may not provide information that contradicts their theory of what occurred. You need a skilled Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer 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 firearm 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 under 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 in Santa Barbara, CA
An assault with a deadly weapon charge is serious, but you have the chance to avoid maximum penalties or even a conviction altogether with a skilled criminal defense lawyer working the case. We know this because we have successfully represented clients facing this type of charge.
There are a number of valid defenses that may be employed to rebut ADW charges:
- Self-defense may be an effective strategy if we can show that you feared for your life and you used only the force necessary to defend yourself or 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.
Our attorneys are known for being willing to take any case to trial because they have full confidence in their 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 as a first-time offender. 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 at (805) 962.4944 for a free, no-obligation consultation.