Assault with a deadly weapon (ADW)

One can be charged with ADW  in the State of California by assaulting (Link to Assault) someone with either a deadly weapon or with means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.

 A deadly weapon can be anything from a gun to a shoe to a cinder block – almost anything in some way, shape or form can be used as a deadly weapon.



Under California law, ADW can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The degree of the penalty will depend on a few factors, including:

  1. The type of weapon that was used during the assault
  2. The degree of injury the victim sustained. Please take note that you can still be convicted of ADW even if no one sustained injuries from your actions.
  3.  Who the victim was, whether they were a police officer, firefighter or other protected person.


The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor ADW  is one year in county jail.

A felony ADW is typically sentenced with 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison. However, sentences can go much higher if the weapon used was a firearm or the victim was a protected person.


Legal defenses

There are several issues a good lawyer can bring up to defend an Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge, including:


 Mistaken identity- through the commotion the “victim” falsely accused someone of committing the act when in reality it was someone else

 You did not use a deadly weapon

You did not use force likely to cause great bodily harm



The Law Offices of Michael A. Scafiddi provides professional advocacy in all types of Civil and Criminal matters throughout Southern California, serving San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Orange Counties.