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Los Angeles Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defense Lawyers


We Provide Strong Advocacy for Violent Crime Charges

So-called "violent crimes" capture the media’s attention and the public’s imagination, and prosecutors play on these fears to put people charged with these offenses away for a long time. If you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon in California, you cannot afford to wait. After a felony conviction, you will lose your right to vote and own a firearm, could spend years in a state prison, and may be forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

Your best defense is a strong offense.

Talk to the top Los Angeles violent crime defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Assault with a deadly weapon charges are often filed in connection with attempted murder and other serious enhancements, so don’t wait. We know how a conviction will damage your reputation and day-to-day life for years, if not the rest of your lifetime. Call us at (213) 688-0460 to set up a free consultation today.

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What Is the Legal Definition of Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

First, let’s define "assault." Under California Penal Code 240 P.C., assault is any attempt to commit violent injury upon someone else when you have the means to do so. Note that assault is merely the attempt to commit injury - the actual infliction of injury would be charged as battery. For example, taking a swing at another bar patron during a dispute, even if your fist doesn’t connect with anything but air, would be charged as assault.

A charge of assault with a deadly weapon (also known as ADW, felony assault, aggravated assault) is generally two-pronged: it means that you attempted to assault another person with a "deadly weapon" OR that you used a means of force likely to produce great bodily injury to that person. Penal Code 245(a)(1) covers assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm; PC 245(a)(2) covers assault with a firearm; and PC 245(a)(4) is assault with means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI).

You should know that almost anything may be defined as a deadly weapon under this offense: a beer bottle, a knife, a vehicle, a shoe, brass knuckles, a bat, a piece of lumber, a pet, or your hands and feet – it all depends on how the instrument was used. For example, trying to hit someone with your car. Directing your dog to attack another person. Throwing a beer bottle. Stomping on a downed opponent. Similarly, a means of force likely to produce great bodily injury could include pushing someone into the path of an oncoming vehicle, knocking them down a flight of stairs, or slamming their head into the sidewalk.

However, both the definition of a deadly weapon and great bodily harm are open to interpretation, and prosecutors must prove that your actions were likely to produce more than ordinary harm to the other person. If they can’t, they don’t have a case of ADW.

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The Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Whether an ADW charge is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the type of "weapon" used, whether the victim sustained any injuries, and whether the victim was a "protected person," such as a firefighter or police officer. It should be noted that assault with a deadly weapon or firearm (but not force likely to produce great bodily injury) is a "strike" under California’s Three Strikes sentencing law. Here are the basic penalties for ADW, without enhancements or stacked sentences from other charges:

  • For misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, with or without a firearm, as well as force likely to produce great bodily harm, the maximum sentence is 1 year in county jail.
  • For felony assault with a deadly weapon, with or without a firearm, as well as force likely to produce great bodily harm, the maximum sentence is 4 years in state prison. For the use of a machine gun or assault rifle, the maximum is 12 years in state prison.

Assault with a deadly weapon is also considered a crime of moral turpitude, since hurting someone else without reason is morally wrong. As such, non-citizens may be deported, and license-holding professionals such as doctors, nurses, or teachers can have their licenses revoked, if they are convicted of ADW.

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What Makes It Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Not Attempted Murder?

Many crimes of violence involve general criminal intent, but they are at heart emotional acts that are not planned. Assault with a deadly weapon can arise in a conflict that gets out of hand, but for an attempted murder charge, prosecutors must prove the accused had the intent to kill the other person. However, California allows them to show intent through actions. For example, if two people are fighting, and one of them pulls out a knife and attempts to stab the other in the heart, a jury could easily be led to believe that the combatant meant to kill his opponent. Thus, a charge of attempted murder.

We have found that in many cases, law enforcement is more interested in wrapping up an incident than determining the truth and finding the real guilty party. That’s why we go to work to investigate your case thoroughly before we build your defense. It yields results.

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Don’t Delay. Call a Top Los Angeles Trial Lawyer Now

Assault with a deadly weapon is a serious charge, and it requires an aggressive defense. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, we have defended people from these charges on the grounds that our clients were performing self-defense, or were misidentified as assailants while the real perpetrators got away. Mark Werksman previously defended a man accused of assaulting an off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy, who faced three years in prison. After a week-long jury trial, our client was found not guilty. Alan Jackson investigated the case of a son of a Middle Eastern sheik accused of assault, kidnapping, and torture, and he presented such compelling evidence of innocence that our client was exonerated and all charges dismissed. In fact, the accuser and her attorneys were charged with extortion and bribery afterward. Every case is different, but our team will give yours the same level of intensity and care.

Call (213) 688-0460 to set up your free initial consultation with a top Los Angeles assault with a deadly weapon defense attorney. Nearly any item can be called a deadly weapon, and even if you didn’t hurt anyone, you can still be locked up for years. There is no benefit of the doubt unless your legal team demands it, so get Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP on your side today.

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Additional Information

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Phone: (213) 688-0460
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