Years ago I had a case that I tried in the San Fernando courthouse. My client basically woke up and he was hallucinating, probably because he had taken drugs — a combination of drugs — and he believed that there was somebody in his house and that they were going to get him, so he grabbed his shotgun and started firing throughout his house. Reloaded and fired multiple shots.
The problem was that his house was attached to other townhouses and so, obviously, that was a very dangerous situation. The bullets could have penetrated the wall and injured his neighbors.
So, he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but the reality was that he really didn’t have the mind for it. In other words, he didn’t even realize what he was doing. He truly was hallucinating and it didn’t really make any sense why somebody would do something like that unless they were hallucinating.
California Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines the crime of assault with a deadly weapon.
Charges Reduced to Negligent Discharge of a Weapon
Ultimately, the prosecutors were giving us problems with dismissing the case, so we were set to go to trial. On the morning of trial, they finally capitulated. We got the judge involved. He ended up getting a negligent discharge of a weapon which obviously was huge.
Because I believe this case was before the three strikes law, so it would have been a strike if you would have had to pled to an assault with a deadly weapon or if he was convicted of that charge.
However, because we were able to get him the negligent discharge, now he doesn’t have a strike on his record, he’s in a much better position, he didn’t get any jail time. We were able to get him some help for his obvious substance abuse problem, and fortunately, the case was resolved in a fair manner.
But sometimes you have to face the prosecutors down. You have to be willing to go to trial if that’s the right move to make. That’s one of the things I think I’m good at as it relates to criminal defense in Los Angeles county, and that is helping my clients to decide whether to fight a case or whether to resolve it.
Seeking Fair Resolution to Criminal Charges
If we are going to resolve it, what’s a fair resolution and being able to convince the prosecutors of that because the prosecutors in Los Angeles county are a huge bureaucracy with over 1,000 prosecutors strong, multiple levels of leadership.
So, you have to know not only how to maneuver yourself in general through the Los Angeles county judicial system, but you also have to realize which courthouse you’re in and how that courthouse works, who the power that be are, who’s reasonable, who’s not reasonable
So, fortunately, we were able to set things up the right way — face the prosecutors down in this assault with a deadly weapon case, avoid the client getting jail or prison time and a strike on his record for the rest of his life.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Call our firm for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.
Categorised in: Violent Crimes