Assault is placing someone in apprehension of an potentially immediate battery. Assault doesn’t require the defendant to touch the victim, but they have to do or say something that causes the victim to believe they are going to be harmed soon. But in California, assault with a deadly weapon is a more specific charge.

Can I Be Charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon in California?

Yes. Assault with a deadly weapon is usually referred to as aggravated assault. Aggravated assault occurs when there is a physical act that cause serious bodily harm. It is also done with a dangerous weapon such as a knife or gun.

What Does the State have to Prove to Find Me Guilty of Aggravated Assault?

The state must prove that a defendant:

  • performed an act that would have resulted in force to another person;
  • performed the act with a deadly weapon or the act would have resulted in “great bodily injury”;
  • performed the act on purpose
  • was aware of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe the act would result in the injury to the victim; and
  • presented the ability to perform the act to the victim.

What If I Didn’t Touch the Victim?

It doesn’t matter if a defendant touched a victim. Assault with a deadly weapon charge can occur when a defendant uses a weapons as they threaten the victim with an imminent harm.

Does the Deadly Weapon Have to Be a Gun or Knife?

No. A deadly weapon can be any object that can be used to cause great bodily harm.

What’s the Punishment for Aggravated Assault in California?

In California, the use of a deadly weapon during an assault is considered a wobbler. It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. It can also be charged differently if the weapon used was a firearm.

If the weapon used in the assault is not a firearm, it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony conviction is punishable by probation, 2 to 4 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by probation, up to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. 

If the weapon was a firearm, the charge can depend on if it is an ordinary firearm or a semiautomatic firearm. An ordinary firearm is still a wobbler and the defendant can face similar charges as listed above. 

But if the weapon used was a semiautomatic firearm, then the charge will always be a felony that is punishable by 3 to 9 years in prison. For more dangerous and deadly firearms, the potential punishment can increase to up to 12 years in prison. 

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Yes, contact a California criminal lawyer about fighting an assault with a deadly weapon charge.