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Elements of California Penal Code 245(a)(1)

Defined by the California Penal Code, 245(a)(1) as assault with a deadly weapon, this charge has the potential to carry serious prison time and fines. Known as a “wobbler” throughout California court systems, the circumstances of the charge determine whether or not the defendant can be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Although specifics of this case can dramatically vary, an established law firm is more than capable to defend your case by clarifying circumstances and revealing your true intent.

California Penal Code 245(a)(1) Explored

Before delving into how a legal team may defend you in this type of case, it’s essential to understand what classifies as a 245(a)(1) charge. In order to be convicted with this charge, the prosecution must provide substantial evidence that proves:

The defendant physically assaulted someone
The resulting assault was not only committed by the defendant, but a weapon that’s considered deadly was used to cause bodily injury beyond minor cuts or scrapes.

According to the California Penal Code, the term “deadly weapon” may consist of any object used by the defendant to cause serious bodily harm to the plaintiff. While many consider deadly weapons to be knives or guns, the fact is almost any object can be used to cause great bodily harm. For example, baseball bats, pens, rocks and even high heeled shoes may be considered a deadly weapon.

Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of a PC 245(a)(1) charge is when the defendant didn’t use an object to cause harm. Even if you didn’t use an object, you may still face an assault with a deadly weapon charge. California courts may consider your hands, feet or even your head a deadly weapon if they were used to cause great bodily harm to the plaintiff. For example, you punch someone until they’re unconscious on the ground, which you then continue to cause injury by kicking the plaintiff in the head. The charge would likely be escalated from battery to assault with a deadly weapon as your hands and feet were used in a such a manner that grave injury was caused.

How a Legal Defense Team May Fight a PC 245(a)(1) Charge

An experienced criminal defense attorney may defend this charge through several methods, which may include:

Inability to Follow Through With Threat – Let’s say the defendant threatened to shoot someone, but the gun was not loaded. Therefore, it would be impossible to follow through with the threat. If this was the case, your lawyer would gather all necessary evidence and prove that it was impossible for you to cause great bodily harm to the victim.
Self-Defense or Defending Another Person – If you believed that your own body, or the body of someone else, was about to be exposed to great harm or injury at the hands of another individual, you cannot be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. For example, you’re at home when a robber breaks in through a window and threatens you or your family. In response, you point a loaded gun at the robber and threaten to pull the trigger if he does not leave. In this scenario, you’re protecting yourself and those around you. Therefore, you would not be convicted of PC 245(a)(1).
Intent – The prosecution must showcase that your intent was to do great bodily harm to the plaintiff in order to be convicted; however, if this was not your intent, then you cannot be convicted of this crime. For example, you’re driving down your neighborhood street and suddenly a child darts out in front of your car. While you swerve to miss the child, you accidentally hit a bicyclist. While your vehicle was responsible for causing bodily harm, your intent was not to cause harm to the cyclist. Therefore, you cannot be convicted with assault of a deadly weapon.

While the circumstances of this charge greatly determine the severity of penalties, our lawyers are more than capable of breaking down case information and providing nothing but the truth during your trail.


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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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