April 2016
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What Counts as A "Deadly Weapon" In an Assault Case?
Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony in the state of California. But what counts as a "deadly weapon?"

The most common deadly weapons are guns and knives. Obviously, these weapons have the potential to seriously injure or kill anyone they are used against. As a result, the criminal penalties are steep when these instruments are used in an assault.

A deadly weapon can be more than just a knife or a gun. California Penal Code section 245 states that a prosecutor can charge a person with the crime of Assault with a Deadly Weapon if the assault was committed with either a deadly weapon or "other means of force likely to cause great bodily injury."

The second clause means that nearly anything can qualify as a deadly weapon. Baseball bats, rocks, furniture, and even a person's own body parts can all be considered deadly weapons, so long as they can cause great bodily injury.

It is often up to the prosecutor's discretion to decide if a weapon is capable of causing great bodily injury. While the statute does not list specific injuries which would count toward the charge, great bodily injury usually refers to injuries that require medical treatment.

For instance, if a person punches another individual once, he or she would most likely be charged with simple battery and/or simple assault, which are both misdemeanors. But, if that person severely beats another individual to the point of unconsciousness, his or her fists could be considered deadly weapons for purposes of the statute. In that case, it is likely that the attacker would be charged with the more serious felony offenses of aggravated battery and/or assault with a deadly weapon.

It is important to note that assault with a deadly weapon is not the same thing as aggravated battery. While the terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably, they are two different crimes. In an assault case, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant attempted to injure another person. In a battery case, the prosecutor must show that the defendant actually touched another person in a harmful way.

For instance, if a person shoots a gun at someone else but misses, that person could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. If the person shoots a gun at someone and injures them, that person could be charged with aggravated battery. Often, assault charges will be brought simultaneously with battery charges.

If you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon, you need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Sometimes a defense attorney can convince a prosecutor that the weapon used was not deadly, and the charge may be changed from a felony to a misdemeanor. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our criminal defense attorneys will work to reduce your charges if possible, and will fight to keep you out of jail. To learn more about defending yourself from assault and battery charges, call 866.902.6880 today or visit us  online.
Federal Government Calls for Lowering the Blood Alcohol Limit to One Drink
Could you be arrested for driving under the influence if you only had one drink? If the federal government gets its way, the answer could be yes.

In January, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its "Most Wanted" list for transportation safety programs in 2016. One of the items the NTSB wants to see accomplished this year is for states to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers from .08 to .05 or less.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that Congress entrusted with the tasks of investigating transportation accidents, issuing safety recommendations, and conducting studies on transportation safety. The NTSB investigates all types of transportation-related accidents, including those that happen on the highways, on a railroad, on the ocean, or in pipelines. The NTSB also provides assistance to the victims of large-scale transportation disasters.

Regarding blood alcohol limits, the agency stated:

"When it comes to alcohol use, we know that impairment begins before a person's BAC reaches 0.08 percent, the current legal limit in the United States. In fact, by the time it reaches that level, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled. That is why states should lower BAC levels to 0.05 - or even lower."

The problem with the NTSB's recommendation is that many people are not impaired after one or two drinks. Depending on an individual's height and weight, drivers may be breaking the law for simply enjoying a glass of wine at a restaurant before driving home.

A .05 BAC is not hard to achieve. In general, a 160-pound man will reach this level after two drinks. Heavier men will reach a .05 BAC after three drinks. The suggested .05 BAC level is more concerning for women, who usually weigh less than their male counterparts and metabolize alcohol faster. A 100-pound woman would be above the .05 BAC limit after a single drink, while women weighing more than 120 pounds would probably reach a .05 BAC after two drinks. However, it is important to note that every person metabolizes alcohol differently, and it could take fewer drinks or more drinks to reach a .05 BAC.

If states decide to follow the NTSB's recommendation, it is likely that drunk driving arrests will skyrocket. While a lower BAC may prevent some accidents, it will also lead to unnecessary arrests of drivers who are not actually impaired.

After a DUI arrest, drivers face personal, financial, and professional consequences that can affect their lives for years. If you were arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to hire an experienced DUI attorney that can fight back against these charges.

At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our Orange County DUI defense attorneys represent people accused of driving under the influence every day, and will work to help you clear your name.  For more information about the DUIs or the DUI process, visit www.duiqueen.com. To set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 866.902.6880 today.
Virginia Landry

Virginia L. Landry received her undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1982. She then went on to pursue her law degree from Western State University, graduating in 1988. The following year, Ms. Landry opened her own Law Office. As a nationally recognized Board Certified DUI Defense Attorney Specialist, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Virginia L. Landry, is able to practice law within all the California state courts and the Central District Court of the United States.


As a criminal defense lawyer with years of litigation and trial experience, Ms. Landry is fully prepared to handle criminal cases involving violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, drug crimes, weapons charges, and domestic violence. Attorney Landry has successfully represented clients facing a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony charges.

In addition to her current position as Regent for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Virginia serves on the Board of Directors for the California DUI Lawyers Association  as its Secretary. Virginia is one of only a handful of attorneys across the nation who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. She has also received her  certificate of instruction , successfully training participants in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student and Instructor courses.


Virginia Landry served on two committees and was on the Orange County Bar Association's Board of Directors for three years, is a past President and current member of the West Orange County Bar Association, is currently a Sustaining Member for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Other local bar associations include the North Orange County Bar Association, The Newport Harbor Bar Association, the South Harbor Bar Association, the Western State University Alumni Association, the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association and the Warren J. Ferguson Inns of Court.

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