Violent Crimes

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon

What is the legal definition of Assault with a Deadly Weapon in California?

Assault with a deadly weapon or ADW is an offense under Penal Code 245 in California. This section criminalizes assault with a deadly weapon, including firearms, and assault using force likely to cause serious injury.

A ‘deadly weapon’ is any object that can be used to cause death or great bodily injury. So, the law covers obvious weapons such as knives and guns, but also objects such as screwdrivers, broken bottles, and even cars, if they are used in a way that could cause serious injury or death. Further, even if no object or weapon is used, you can still be charged with the offense of assault with a deadly weapon if you use physical force against another person that is likely to cause great bodily injury.

In Southern California courts, assault with a deadly weapon is considered to be more serious than “simple” assault, which is reflected by the fact that the crime can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor – whereas simple assault is always a misdemeanor. An important thing to remember is that assault does not require proof that any injury was caused to the alleged victim. Rather, the crime of assault can be doing anything that merely might cause the alleged victim physical harm or unwanted touching. For example, threatening someone with a knife, even if they are not touched or harmed at all, would be an assault with a deadly weapon

Do I need a lawyer for this type of case?

Having a lawyer is not only your right, but your best chance of fighting the case against you. The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald have handled many assault cases where we have been able to influence the process by presenting mitigating evidence to the DA to have charges dismissed or reduced, and we can help you at any stage of the process.

You should seek legal representation because these cases can have very serious repercussions. A charge of assault with a deadly weapon exposes you to the risks of a criminal record, large fines, and jail time. Further, if you are a non-citizen, you face the additional risk of being deported if convicted.

What should I say to the police?

Nothing – you only have to tell them your name and address, and show some identification if requested. Other than that, it’s best to not say anything at all to the police – your lawyer will speak for you. If you are arrested, you or your family should contact The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald immediately.

If any kind of allegation is being made against you, you should never answer any questions from the police without first getting legal advice, and you should always have an attorney present when speaking to the authorities.

If you are arrested, the police are then required to tell you about your rights. These include your right to silence, and your right to a lawyer. These rights are important and you should take full advantage of them.

Being charged and going through the arrest process can be scary and intimidating, and it’s natural for you to want to defend or explain yourself. Keep in mind, though, that nothing you say at that point is likely to stop the police from charging you. Your best chance of presenting a good defense is by remaining silent and consulting a lawyer as soon as you can.

  • Arson
  • Assault and Battery
  • Domestic Violence
  • Hate Crimes
  • Homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • Mayhem
  • Murder
  • Terrorism
  • Theft / Larceny