Understanding Assault With A Deadly Weapon

understanding-assault-with-a-deadly-weapon2

Assault with a deadly weapon is basically what it sounds like. It means you are accused of assaulting someone and at the time you had something that could have been considered a deadly weapon. Like most legal issues, assault with a deadly weapon isn’t as simple as we would like it to be.

What Is A Deadly Weapon?

The first issue that comes up during assault with deadly weapon trials is if the object was deadly. Most of us hear deadly weapons and we instantly think of things like guns and knives. We don’t usually realize that many of the things that are simply laying around your house could be considered a deadly weapon in the right situation. In the heat of the moment, a shoe, pen, heavy beer bottle, or dog leash could become a deadly weapon. There have even been situations when a person bit or clawed an opponent and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon due to the sheer amount of damage their teeth and nails did to the victim.

Why It’s Important To Understand What A Deadly Weapon Is

Assault with a deadly weapon isn’t a simple thing in California, in large part because it’s one of the state’s wobbler laws. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you’re convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon you could spend the next four years in a state prison and be hit with up to $10,000 in fines. You’ll also probably have to go through a felony probation period.

If a gun is involved, the situation becomes even more complicated. If you have a simple handgun during the assault, the DA has the option of charging you with a misdemeanor. However, if the gun was a machine gun, an assault weapon, a semi-automatic, or a .50 BMG rifle, you’re automatically hit with felony charges. If you’re found guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon that included one of the listed firearms, you could be sentenced to twelve years in prison.

Potential Defenses In Assault With A Deadly Weapon

Just because you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, that doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted. There are several, legal defenses you can use, including:

  • Someone was mistaken and you weren’t in possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the assault.
  • You didn’t intend to use the weapon.
  • You acted in self-defense.

Because assault with a deadly weapon in California is complicated, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced defense attorney as soon as you hear the charges.

 

When Does A Prank Go Too Far?

pranks-gone-too-far1

Most of us have been involved in pranks, both as the person pulling the prank on another and as someone who has been pranked. In most cases, the pranks are fun and no one is emotionally or physically hurt, but there is always an exception.

The best indicator that a prank has gone too far is when the police has gotten involved. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter if you were pulling a prank or if you deliberately set about to hurt someone. If a law was broken, you could end up in jail.

Most pranks attract legal attention because someone has gotten seriously hurt or property was damaged during the prank.

Here is a small sample of the type of pranks that could potentially get you into hot legal water.

Making Prank Calls

Prank calls seem harmless. You make a simple phone call, you confuse the person on the other end of the line, you have a good laugh. You can’t possibly get into trouble, right?

Wrong. Making a prank phone call to a friend or family member usually isn’t a big deal, but if you start calling strangers, you could quickly learn that not everyone thinks your funny. Depending on what you say or how many times you call, the person on the other end of the line might decide to contact the police and report that you’re harassing them. If the person pranking is tired of your antics, you could be charged with everything from disorderly conduct to harassment.

Wet Willies

Given that we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic, you should realize that most people don’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to bodily fluid, or even being touched, so you should already know that giving someone a wet willie, which involves sticking your saliva covered finger in their ear is a bad idea. What you probably didn’t realize is that it will remain a bad idea even after the pandemic ends. If the person whose ear you insert your finger into objects to the act, they can contact the police and file assault charges against you.

Trespassing

Sneaking across a buddy’s yard and playing a prank on them might seem like big fun, but make sure anyone else who lives in the house won’t mind your prank. If they don’t know it’s coming or they fail to be amused, they can file trespassing charges against you.

This is just a small sample of pranks that could go too far and result in you facing criminal and civil charges. If you’re planning on pulling a prank, it’s in your best interest to consider all the potential consequences of your actions and determine if the risk is still worthwhile.

 

What Happens If You’re A Drunk Passenger In A Car Driven By A Drunk Driver?

drunk-passenger-and-drunk-driver2

The law is clear. If your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher and you’re pulled over, you’ll be charged with a DUI. What isn’t clear is what happens if you’re the drunk passenger in a vehicle that’s being operated by a drunk driver.

The good news is that you can’t be charged with a DUI. That particular law only impacts people who are physically operating the vehicle at the time.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook. It’s entirely likely that the police officer will consider other things they can charge you. It’s not uncommon for drunken passengers to be charged with public drunkenness, underage drinking, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, etc. In many cases, the exact charges you face will be determined by how badly you behaved when the car you were in was pulled over. If you sit quietly, do everything the officer asks, and find a sober driver to give you a lift home, it’s likely the officer will let you go.

What If You Caused The Accident?

There have been cases when a passenger was charged with a DUI. Some of these cases involve a drunk driver, but there have been some where the driver was sober and was helping transport a drunk passenger. Most of these situations involved the passenger grabbing the steering wheel and yanking the car off course. Since you were behaving as the operator at that moment, you can be charged with a DUI.

Civil Liability

Things can take a different turn if the officer suspects that you knew the driver was drunk. It hasn’t happened in California yet, but some states have gone so far as to create DUI by consent laws that means anyone who knew the driver was drunk and failed to stop them from getting behind the wheel faces serious criminal charges.

In California, knowingly allowing someone to get behind the wheel even though you knew they were drunk creates the perfect situation for anyone who was hurt by the drunk driver to file a civil lawsuit against you. In many cases, this type of lawsuit favors the plaintiff, meaning you could lose everything. Not only could the victims of the drunk driving accident file civil charges against you, if your drunk driving friend is hurt or killed in the accident, their family might also name you in a lawsuit.

If you are unable to convince a drunk friend to let you drive them home, it’s in your best interest to contact the police and alert them of the situation. By letting everyone know there is a problem, you create proof that you did everything in your power to stop them from driving which makes it difficult for anyone to mount a civil case against you.

 

The Difference Between Manslaughter And Involuntary Manslaughter

manslaughter-and-involuntary-manslaughter1

From a legal standpoint, manslaughter is, “the unlawful killing of a human being without any malice aforethought.”

What that means is that something you did resulted in the death of someone else. What separates it from other types of murder charges is that you didn’t actively think you were going to do something that would trigger their death. There was zero premeditation.

What Is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter, which is sometimes referred to as voluntary manslaughter, happens when the court rules that the victim provoked you. A perfect example of this is if you’re at a bar and someone is harassing you. If you decide you’ve had enough and punch your heckler and they die, that’s manslaughter.

You didn’t plan on murdering the person and their actions provoked the attack, but at the same time, you knew when you threw the punch, there was a chance it could end with a fatality.

Manslaughter is often considered an event that takes place in the “heat of passion.” In most cases of voluntary manslaughter, the defendant realizes that they could have and should have walked away from the situation rather than engaging with the victim.

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter is a little more confusing. It happens when your actions directly led to the death of another, but you didn’t act maliciously. Examples of involuntary manslaughter often involve cars. Examples include getting into a fatal accident because you were speeding, texting, driving under the influence, or failed to properly maintain your vehicle.

Consequences Of Manslaughter

If you’re convicted of voluntary manslaughter in California, the potential legal consequences include:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Anywhere from 3-11 years in prison
  • Community service
  • Mandatory anger management counseling
  • Losing the ability to own a firearm

Voluntary manslaughter is one of California’s three-strikes law.

The legal consequence of involuntary manslaughter in California include:

  • 2-4 year in jail
  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Probation

You may also face additional charges such as reckless endangerment, DUI, etc.

 

Spring Break Is Here! Know What An Underage Drinking Charge Will Cost You

spring-break-and-underage-drinking-charges2.jpg

Spring break is finally here! It’s time to cut loose, forget all about your studies, and have a good time.

While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying yourself, don’t forget that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol until you’re at least twenty-one years old. If you choose to ignore this, an underage drinking charge won’t just ruin your spring break, it will also have a negative impact on your life over the next few years.

It doesn’t matter if you’re pulled over for speeding or if the cops show up at a party, if your blood alcohol content is over .05 and you’re under twenty-one, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

For the record, a single beer is all it takes to put you over .05.

The days when an underage drinking charge resulted in a difficult phone call to your parents and some community service time are long over. California lawmakers have decided to crackdown on underage drinking during spring break.

The first time you get caught drinking while you’re underage, the potential consequences are:

  • Serving 24-32 hours of community service.
  • A $250 fine.
  • Attending an alcohol education program.

Each time you’re caught drinking while underage after the first conviction, the consequences are:

  • 36-48 hours of community service.
  • A $500 fine.
  • A one-year drivers license suspension.

The very first time you’re caught drinking and driving while underage, the potential consequences can include:

  • Spending at least 48 hours in jail.
  • Spending 3 years on probation.
  • Lowing your good driver status for 10 full years (this will lead to significantly higher insurance premiums).
  • Two points getting added to your current driving record.

Some California counties will also install an ignition lock on any vehicles that are registered in your name.

It’s important to remember that minors aren’t the only ones who can get into trouble for underage drinking. Anyone who allows minors to drink will also find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Parents who allow their children to consume alcohol while at home can get into serious trouble if that child is caught behind the wheel while under the influence. A guilty conviction of letting a minor drive while intoxicated includes a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.

If the court decides that you’ve contributed to the delinquency of a minor, they can hit you with a one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine.

Businesses that serve alcohol to minors face a misdemeanor charge that can include a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charge can also jeopardize their business license.

It is in everyone’s best interest to remember that alcohol and minors shouldn’t mix this spring break.

 

California Takes Court Order Violations Seriously

california-court-order-violations1

California judges don’t issue court orders because they think it’s fun. They do so because they want you to follow the order. Failing to do exactly what the court order does or simply pretending it doesn’t exist will bring about some serious legal consequences. Violating a court order in California could potentially ruin your life.

The Legalities Of A Violated Court Order In California

The issue of violating a California court order is addressed in the California Penal Code Section 166 PC.

If you’re charged with violating a California court order, you’ll face a separate set of criminal charges that deal exclusively with that particular court order. This is separate from any other criminal charges you may currently face.

The burden of proof is on the prosecutor. During your hearing, they must prove that you knew about the court order, that you understood it, and that you deliberately set out to defy it. If the prosecutor proves that you knowingly violated the court order the case will be dropped.

What Happens If You’re Found Guilty Of Violating A California Court Order

It’s not unusual for the judge to decide to penalize you to the full extent of the law after you’ve been found guilty of violating a California court order. Even though this is only considered a legal misdemeanor, the guilty verdict can seriously disrupt your life.

The penalty for violating a court order in California can include:

  • Up to six months in a county jail
  • Probation
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

While defending yourself in a violation of a court order case isn’t easy, it can be done. The best defense is proving that you didn’t know/understand the terms of the court order. This defense works best when you can prove that the court failed to provide you with an opportunity to read the documentation.

Another common and highly successful defense is proving to the court that circumstances conspired against you, making it impossible for you to not violate the court order. An example of this is when you’re accused of violating a restraining order but the person you were supposed to avoid happened to show up at a venue and you were there before them.

The third most popular defense in a violating a court order case is proving that you were falsely accused.

Defending yourself in a violation of a California court order case isn’t easy. It’s in your best interest to make sure you fully understand every single aspect of the court order and follow it to the letter. If you’re in any way confused by the situation, you need to hire a good attorney who will explain the situation and advise you about your legal rights if you’re afraid you have already done something that violates the court order.