The charge of assault in California- specifically Penal Code Section 245 (a) (1)- is defined as follows- assault with a deadly weapon (commonly referred to as an ADW or aggravated assault) as an assault that is committed with any type of deadly weapon or by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury to another.
Now; it is a very important distinction between committing the offense with a WEAPON, or by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury to another. The former would constitute a “Strike Offense”; the latter would not. Here are two examples-
1. Person A leaves a bar and gets into a confrontation with Person B. Person A pulls out a knife and lunges at Person B with the knife = PC 245 (a) (1) AS A STRIKE.
2. Person A leaves a bar and gets into a confrontation with Person B. Person A attacks Person B with his fists but with great force likely to cause great bodily injury = PC 245 (a) (1) NOT AS A STRIKE
There is a way however under California law the second version listed above can become a “Strike Offense”. This happens when an assault occurs without a weapon- i.e. a fist fight or an attack- and the victim suffers “Great Bodily Injury”.
In California- this categorized under Penal Code Section 12022.7- Great bodily injury (sometimes referred to as “GBI” or “great bodily harm”) is a legal term that basically means what is says…”great” bodily injury. Significant or substantial injuries- i.e. broken bones, wounds requiring stitches, wounds or injury requiring surgery, etc.
So summarizing- if a PC 245 (a) (1) occurs and the person uses a weapon while doing so- it is a Strike. If a PC 245 (a) (1) occurs and the person does not use a weapon but injures the other party significantly enough to cause “Great Bodily Injury”- it is a Strike. Of course it always possible that a PC 245 (a) (1) occurs with someone using a weapon and as a result “Great Bodily Injury” occurs; this too would be a Strike offense because it contains both triggering factors.
If you or a loved one have been charged with Penal Code Section 245 (a) (1) contact the experienced Los Angeles assault defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. We have been helping criminal defendants for over 30 years. Call us at (888) 280-6839 or visit us at www.wklaw.com.