Even a pencil could be considered a deadly weapon — in the right circumstances
In California, there are different degrees of assault, which is an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else, when you have the ability to do so. The most serious type of assault is “assault with a deadly weapon.” This occurs when a person commits assault either with a deadly weapon or with force that is likely to produce great bodily injury.
But what exactly is a deadly weapon? In everyday English, a deadly weapon may be considered something that is commonly considered a weapon, like a gun or a knife, and the type of weapon that is capable of causing a fatality. However, as a criminal defense lawyer Rancho Cucamonga, CA can explain, the legal meaning of “deadly weapon” is more expansive.
First, it is important to understand the crime of assault with a deadly weapon. To prove this crime, a prosecutor must demonstrate that:
- The defendant performed an act that, by its nature, would probably result directly in the application of force to someone else;
- The defendant either performed that act with a deadly weapon, OR the act he or she performed would result in force that was likely to produce great bodily injury;
The defendant performed that act willfully;
- When the defendant acted, he or she was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the act would directly and probably result in the application of force to that person; and
- When the defendant acted, he or she had the present ability to apply force with a deadly weapon, or force likely to produce great bodily injury
If the charge is based on the use of a deadly weapon, then the prosecutor will have to demonstrate that you did, in fact, use a deadly weapon.
Under California law, a deadly weapon is any object, instrument, or weapon that is used in a manner that makes it capable of producing (and likely to produce) either death or great bodily injury. While this does include the weapons that most people think of, like guns and knives, there are many other objects that may be considered deadly weapons based on the way that they are used.
For example, if a car is used to run someone over, it may be considered a deadly weapon. A pencil used to stab someone could be a deadly weapon. A brick, rock, or even a bottle could all be deadly weapons based on how they are used. However, hands, feet, and other parts of the body are not considered deadly weapons under California law for assault with a deadly weapon (however, a person can still be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon if they strike someone with their hands or feet with force likely to produce great bodily injury).
According to a criminal defense lawyer Rancho Cucamonga, CA, almost anything can be a deadly weapon — depending on how it is used. That is why it is important to have a skilled attorney to represent you, and defend you against assault with a deadly weapon charges. Your lawyer can argue that the object you used was not actually a deadly weapon — or make other factual or legal arguments to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
At the Chambers Law Firm, we are dedicated to aggressively advocating for our clients. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or firstname.lastname@example.org schedule a free initial consultation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer Rancho Cucamonga, CA.