When someone has been accused of assault with a deadly weapon, they need to familiarize themselves with the possible defenses they can use to defend their case in order to avoid being convicted of the crime.
Assault with a deadly weapon could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor charge carries a shorter jail sentence while a felony charge could lead to up to four years in prison along with $10,000 in fine.
Under California's Three Strikes Law, a felony conviction is considered a "strike." If automatic weapons were used during the assault, punishment for the felony conviction will significantly increase. Some of the consequences of a felony conviction include the following:
- The offender may have to take anger management classes if they are granted probation. They may also be required to make restitution to the victim. Their weapons will also be confiscated.
- The offender may lose their right to own a gun. Non U.S. citizens will be deported.
In order to prove the offender guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor must prove a number of things as outlined below:
- The assault was committed on someone by the offender
- The assault was committed willfully with the intent to cause harm
- The assault was committed with a deadly weapon or firearm
- The intent of the assault was to produce serious bodily injury or death
Another thing to note is that assault is different from battery, although the terms are often used interchangeably.
In order to defend the charge of assault with a deadly weapon, the following defenses can possibly be used:
- The person did not actually use the deadly weapon to cause bodily injury
- The person acted in self-defense or to defend someone else
- The act of violence was not intentional or with purpose
- The accusation is completely false
Remember, a person cannot be convicted of AWD (Assault with Deadly Weapon) if they did not possess any kind of object that is capable of being used as a deadly weapon. Similarly, if you did not use force to cause injury, the criminal defense attorney can argue that you did not violate any law.
Those who use self defense in order to defend themselves can say that they were in immediate danger of suffering serious injury or death. They can also say that they believed use of force was necessary to repel their attacker.
If the prosecutor is trying to prove that the act of violence was intentional, the offender will not be convicted of ADW unless actual injury was caused. Similarly, if you were coerced by someone to do what you did, you will not be held responsible for the wrongdoing. If an assailant threatened to harm you or your family members and forced you to act the way you did, you will not be held responsible.
Whatever the case, make sure you have an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney at your side in order to defend your case.