Police have arrested a man on suspicion of assaulting a Lyft driver in Santa Ana. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, there is surveillance footage and cell phone video that showed the man punching a Lyft driver in the face after she apparently parked crooked and blocked two spaces while her fare was shopping at a gas station’s mini-mart. The 46-year-old man was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The incident occurred in the 3400 block of South Main Street in Santa Ana.
The Lyft driver told ABC 7 news that she “accidentally” parked crooked and didn’t realize it. She said the man came up to the front of her car and began yelling. He asked her if she was getting video of him before striking her. He can be seen knocking the driver to the ground, taking her phone and throwing it across the parking lot, and leaving before officers arrived. Investigators used the videos to identify the man and took him into custody.
What is Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Under California Penal Code Section 245 (a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon is the act of assaulting another person using a deadly weapon or some other instrument, or by the use of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury to another. Some examples of assault with a deadly weapon may include chasing after someone with a baseball bat, pointing a gun at someone to shoot them and driving one’s car into someone.
In order to prove a defendant guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant “willfully” assaulted another person with or without a deadly weapon. California’s Penal Code Section 245 (a)(1) provides for penalties to anyone who uses a deadly weapon, an object or instrument other than a firearm or any other means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury. When we talk about force with a weapon, it could refer to a firearm or any object that is not traditionally considered a weapon such as a baseball bat or a vehicle.
You can also be charged with assault with a deadly weapon if you use force against another person without using a deadly weapon, but in a manner that is likely to cause the other person substantial harm. Examples include pushing, punching, kicking, choking, biting, etc. “Great bodily injury” refers to significant physical injury that is more than just minor or moderate harm. Examples of great bodily injury include broken bones, cuts that require stitches, internal injuries or organ damage, etc.
Defending the Charges
There are several possible ways to defend assault with a deadly weapon charges. One of the most common defenses in such cases is self-defense. If a defendant honestly and reasonably believes that he or she was in danger of suffering injury, he or she is justified in using as much force as is reasonably necessary to fend off the danger. So, if it is determined that you were acting in self defense, you are not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. Inability to carry out a threat is also a defense in assault with a deadly weapon cases. For example, if you threaten to shoot someone with a gun you said you had tucked away in your waistband, but did not have a gun, then, you are not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. This is because you did not truly have the ability to carry out the assault.
Another defense that is commonly used in these types of cases is the lack of intent. If you assaulted someone by accident without intending to do so, then you are not guilty. For example, if you accidentally swung a bat intending to hit a baseball, but accidentally hit and injured the person standing behind you, then, you did not commit the crime of assault with a deadly weapon because you did not intend to hurt the person. Finally, there are also times when an individual is falsely accused of a crime. An experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney will know how to gather evidence and talk to witnesses to arrive at the truth and help fight the assault with a deadly weapon charges.
Assault with a deadly weapon is a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. The decision is made by the prosecutor who will charge it as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the circumstances of the case including the type of the weapon or instrument used to commit the assault, the nature and extent of injuries suffered by victim as a result of the alleged assault and whether the alleged victim was in a category of “protected persons” such as a firefighter or police officer.
A person who is charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon could face probation of up to five years, up to a year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. The penalties are higher if the assault involves a firearm. A person convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon faces up to four years in state prison, up to a $10,000 and a “strike” on his or her criminal record pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. The penalties increase if firearms were involved in the assault, if the victim was a peace officer or if the alleged assault was gang-related.
Protecting Your Rights
If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, it is important that you remain calm and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You need a competent defense lawyer who has the resources to conduct an independent investigation and present your side clearly and convincingly before jurors. If you have been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, do not talk to prosecutors without an attorney present. Call the Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.