So I was asked to talk about assault with a deadly weapon here in the state of California and what that means and what the potential punishments for assault with a deadly weapon (or ADW) can be here in the State of California.
What is a Deadly Weapon?
Now most people when they think “deadly weapon,” they think knives, they think guns, they think bow and arrow, they think something that is traditionally can be used to kill another person, but in California a deadly weapon at least for purposes of a ADW law can really be any object that you could use to inflict a meaningful injury on another person. So anything heavier than wet spaghetti noodle can theoretically become a deadly weapon for ADW charge purposes.
So what are you up against if you’re faced with potential ADW charge?
Well, that varies dramatically depending on the circumstances.
An assault with a deadly weapon that doesn’t involve a firearm can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and if it’s just charged as a misdemeanor, you’re facing up to a year in jail.
If it’s charged of felony, and if there’s a firearm involved, it must be charged as a felony. Then you looking to start at a two, three, or four year state prison sentence, but that’s not the end of the story because there are any number of enhancements that can be alleged by the prosecution: special facts and circumstances which make it a much more serious penalty.
There are potentially five-year enhancements to turn ADW into a potential nine-year sentence.
If there’s a gang allegation involved, an ADW case can become a 25 to life case, so when someone says what am I up against when I’m looking at an ADW, the answer is it could be just about anything from a simple misdemeanor up to a very serious felony.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon can be a Strike Offense
If it is a felony allegation, under certain circumstances, assault with a deadly weapon is a strike offense. For purposes of California’s three-strikes law, picking up a strike offense is obviously a very serious situation.
Why do you need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
It’s important that if you or a loved one of yours is confronted with the possibility of being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, that you not limit yourself to just looking up on the internet and trying to figure out what are they facing here or what am I facing here.
You really need to consult with someone who is an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our office offers free consultations. Please feel free to pick up the phone, give us a call, and we’ll see what we can do to help.