Crime isn’t taken lightly in California, and as is the case in most areas of America, violent crimes are often treated much more seriously than others. Assault and battery charges, for instance, can actually land a person in prison on their first offense, if circumstances allow. When it comes to assault with a deadly weapon, however, the penalties can be much more severe. California recognizes the damage that assaulting a person with a deadly weapon, even in the absence of actual physical harm, can do; and this leads them to handle the charge with an iron fist.
What Do these Charges Mean?
In California, in order to charge someone with assault with a deadly weapon, you must first show that an individual was actually assaulted. The definition of assault is when a person willfully acts in a way that they recognize would likely cause an application of force against another person – and the person committing the assault must have had the present ability to cause that forceful application to occur.
For an assault with a deadly weapon charge to be upheld, the aforementioned assault must have been committed with a firearm or other deadly weapon. In addition, an individual can be charged with the crime if they used any means of assault that could lead to great bodily injury. These charges are known as wobblers; this means they can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. Because of this, bail amounts and penalties can vary.
Bail for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
California counties have what is called a bail schedule, which lists predetermined bail amounts for certain crimes. These amounts will vary by county, and in the case of assault with a deadly weapon charges, by severity of the charge.
Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, for instance, set bail amounts for this charge at $30,000 if no firearm was used. If a gun was used, however, this amount jumps to $50,000. In San Diego and San Benito Counties, on the other hand, this charge will result in a $10,000 bail amount. This jumps to $20,000 in San Diego if a firearm is used, but San Benito holds to a set $10,000 even if a gun was used in the crime.
Quite obviously, the higher bail amounts are meant to keep people in jail, but an individual charged with these crimes can still seek freedom with the help of a bonding agency. Companies such as Bail Hotline can secure bail for someone so charged, at a maximum of 10 percent of the face bail amount – a limit set by the State of California.
Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
The consequences and penalties for this crime also greatly vary. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, a person can face one year in jail, a $10,000 fine, confiscation of their weapon and a few other punitive measures. If charged as a felony, however, an individual could end up in prison for up to four years and have to pay the same aforementioned fine. In addition, they could also have a “strike” put on their record.
As can be gathered from the aforementioned bail amounts and penalties, assault with a deadly weapon is an especially harsh charge in the California criminal justice system. Anyone facing these charges stands to lose substantial financial assets and possibly their freedom, so it’s imperative that they make bail quickly and find an attorney as quickly as possible. This could be their only chance to fight these charges.