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If you’ve been accused of assault with a deadly weapon in California, you could be subject to extremely serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and a criminal conviction on your record. Fortunately, there is help available. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of David S. Chesley represent criminal defendants across the greater LA area and are committed to resolving each case we take as favorably as possible. We are tough negotiators who know how to get prosecutors to make deals and never hesitate to take a case to trial if it in the interest of justice.
Don't lose hope. The California criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley have the experience you need to defend yourself against these charges. Call us at 800-755-5174 or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.
What Is Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
California law defines assault as "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another." Note that by law, there needs only be an "attempt." You could be charged with assault even if you didn't touch the other person.
Under California law, assault with a deadly weapon (“ADW”) occurs whenever someone attempts to commit a violent injury upon another person in two scenarios:
The second scenario is important because it allows the prosecution to charge defendants with ADW even if you weren’t using a gun or knife. For example, let’s say someone is in a bar fight and starts brandishing a broken bottle. A broken bottle is not typically considered a deadly weapon, but that person could be charged with ADW under California law if he slashed at another person’s neck with it. It simply needs to be an “instrument” used with “force likely to produce great bodily injury.”
Other less common examples of ADW may include ordering a vicious dog to attack someone, stabbing someone with a screwdriver, or attempting to run someone down with a motor vehicle. However, it’s important to note that attacking someone with your hands or feet cannot be considered assault with a deadly weapon, as your hands and feet are not considered instruments.
It is possible for assault with a deadly weapon to be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon a variety of factors. The severity i penalties sought by the prosecution will vary according to the following factors:
The potential penalties associated with an assault with a deadly weapon charge depend significantly on the specific facts of the incident in question. Here are some of the possible penalties for various scenarios:
As you can see, the penalties increase significantly for semiautomatic weapons and machine guns. It’s also interesting to note that the penalties are even more severe if a police officer or firefighter was involved. For example, there is no misdemeanor charge available if you assaulted a police officer with a weapon other than a firearm.
It's also important to note that, when charged with assaulting a police officer or firefighter, the statute requires two additional elements: (1) that the defendant knew or should have known the victim was a police officer or firefighter; and (2) that the police officer or firefighter was assaulted when performing his or her duties.
What The Prosecution Has to Prove
It's one thing to be charged with a crime, but it's important to remember that the prosecution must prove that you committed the crime you are charged with in order to get a conviction. Every crime has “elements” which the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to convict you. For ADW, the prosecution has to prove the following elements:
Note that the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant actually injured the alleged victim. All the prosecution needs to prove is that you intended to commit serious injury and had the ability to do so. Using our example of the bar fight from above, let’s say a person tried to stab the victim with the broken bottle but missed. This conduct could result in an ADW charge.
If you've been charged with ADW, it's important to understand that there are defenses that you can raise to avoid conviction. In many cases, however, it can difficult to tell whether these defenses apply without significant legal training and experience, so anyone who has been accused of assault with a deadly weapon should discuss their case with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible.
Some common defenses that defendants raise in ADW cases include:
Again, it’s important to note that the prosecution must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you. Importantly, even if there are not any defenses available, an attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor or have the charges against you reduced. In many cases, we can have ADW charges reduced to simple assault or battery charges, which are much less serious. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Being charged with assault with a deadly weapon is a very serious matter that can result in years of jail time. The Law Offices of David S. Chesley offers our clients aggressive, high-quality representation with over 50 years of courtroom experience. We’ll help you understand your rights and give you the best defense possible. If you would like a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in LA, call us at 800-755-5174 or email us today!
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Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.