California Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm as an “assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm.” This means that California can classify almost anything as a deadly weapon. Additionally, if convicted of this crime, a defendant could face up to 4 years in state prison.
However, the good news is that Penal Code 245(a)(1) is a “wobbler.” This means that the defendant’s acts can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If the defendant is convicted of only a misdemeanor violation of Penal Code 245(a)(1), he will face only up to 1 year in the county jail rather than up to 4 years in state prison. Whether the act is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor will largely result from the defendant’s attorney negotiating a plea-deal with the prosecutor and the judge.
If no deal is reached prior to trial, the case will be brought to a jury to determine the defendant’s culpability. If the jury convicts the defendant, it will be up to the judge to determine sentence, within the ramifications of the the Penal Code 245. However, even at sentencing, the defendant’s attorney may be able to reduce the sentence by bringing to the judge’s attention mitigating factors of the the particular case.