Common Defenses for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is outlined in California Penal Code 245 [1], and is considered an aggravated assault with the use of an object to inflict injury, or to act in a manner that is likely to result in great bodily harm. This charge can be tried as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on your prior criminal history and the details of the crime. Because of the potential severity of a felony charge, it is important to take the charges seriously, and get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in aggravated assault cases.

In order to charge you with assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor must prove two things:

  • You assaulted a person
  • You used a deadly weapon or force that was likely to cause serious bodily injury

Proving these facts may be difficult, but don’t let your defense rely on the difficulty to prove the charges. Work with your attorney to develop a strategy for your defense.

Defending Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges

There are several common defenses your lawyer may use to defend you against the charges. The most common is that you were acting in self-defense. If you reasonably believed that you were in danger and force was the only way to protect yourself, this defense may be successful. California allows for individuals to protect themselves from injury, so long as they only use as much force as necessary to ward off the attack.

If you were physically unable to carry out the assault, you cannot be charged. If you threatened someone with a firearm, but the gun in question was not loaded, you have not committed assault with a deadly weapon. Since threatening to shoot someone with an unloaded weapon cannot result in bodily injury, the second element of the law is not met. You may still face other charges, such as criminal threats.

Your attorney may also show that the police officers involved in your arrest did not follow proper procedure. There are strict rules officers must obey while performing their duties. If the procedure were not followed correctly, your lawyer can have evidence dismissed. These missteps can include a failure to read you your Miranda Rights or using more than the minimum force required to take you into custody.

Another argument that can be made is that you were falsely accused. Witnesses may make a mistake in identifying the assailant. Other people may bring up false accusations out of spite to cause you difficulty. If there is someone who feels wronged by you, it is possible that they may fabricate an accusation to have you arrested.

Accusations of an assault with a deadly weapon are serious, and you deserve quality legal defense for your charges. Our team of expert criminal defense attorneys has over 50 years of combined experience defending clients from these types of criminal charges. Contact the Law offices of David M. Wallin today to begin your defense with a free consultation.