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Penal Code 244.5: Assault with a Stun Gun Laws in California

PC 244.5: Assault with a Stun Gun

Legal Definition:

(a) As used in this section, “stun gun” means any item, except a less-lethal weapon, as defined in Section 16780, used or intended to be used as either an offensive or defensive weapon that is capable of temporarily immobilizing a person by the infliction of an electrical charge.

(b) Every person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a stun gun or less-lethal weapon, as defined in Section 16780, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, two, or three years.

(c) Every person who commits an assault upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter with a stun gun or less-lethal weapon, as defined in Section 16780, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 244.5 the prosecution must show that:

  1. You did an act with a stun gun/less-lethal weapon that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person;
  2. You did that act willfully;
  3. When you acted, you were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that your act by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone;

AND

  1. When you acted, you had the present ability to apply force with a stun gun/less-lethal weapon to a person;

AND

  1. You did not act in self-defense/in defense of someone else.

What does this mean?

Stun guns are defined very broadly in  California and a lot of items are considered stun guns. A stun gun is anything, except a less-lethal weapon, that is used or intended to be used as either an offensive or defensive weapon and is capable of temporarily immobilizing someone by inflicting an electrical charge. A less-lethal weapon is any device that is either designed to or that has been converted to expel or propel less-lethal ammunition by any action, mechanism, or process for the purpose of incapacitating, immobilizing, or stunning a human being through the infliction of any less than lethal impairment of physical condition, function, or senses, including physical pain or discomfort. It is not necessary that the weapon leave any lasting or permanent incapacitation, discomfort, pain, or other injury or disability in order to qualify as a less-lethal weapon.

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage. The terms application of force and apply force mean to touch in a harmful or offensive manner. The slightest touching can be enough if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind.

When you “tase” or stun another person, you don’t have to actually “harm” someone during the act to be charged. But if you do, that is a factor considered in whether you actually assaulted someone.

Penalties

A violation under PC 244.5 is a wobbler offense. This means you can be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depends on the specific facts of your case, your criminal history, and the possible injury to the other person (though it is not required). If you are convicted of this charge as a felony, you could be sentenced up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in County Jail. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.

If the stun gun is used on a peace officer or a firefighter, then you can be sentenced to upwards of 2, 3, or 4 years in State Prison.

This is generally not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. This couldbe considered a Strike offense if the person suffers Great Bodily Injury during the assault. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face Deportation in Immigration Court since this crime may be considered an aggravated felony since you would have been using a stun gun in the commission of this offense.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of Rights
  4. Self-Defense

In California, you are allowed to use force against another person if you reasonably believe that you must use force to defend yourself against the threat of immediate harm. In other words, if you are threatened with an attack, you have the right to defend yourself, and fight back. Here, if you are being attacked by another, maybe a mugger, you could use your stun gun to stop them from attacking you. You were be justified herein using the force since you were acting in self-defense of yourself on an imminent attack.

Another defense can be if police violate your rights under the Fourth Amendment. If the police were to detain you, without any probable cause, and find the stun gun on you, then that could be challenged by your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney, thus having your case thrown out of Court. This also applies if the police search an area with a warrant that does not include that area within their search warrant. These are violations of your rights and you can challenge them with your Attorney under PC 1538.5. In most cases, the charge would not be thrown out of a court with a successful motion, but here, if the item seized is the stun gun, this can mean your case gets dismissed.

Call Today

A criminal conviction carries implications that reach beyond the immediate penalties, potentially impacting your education, employment opportunities, and future aspirations. Assault with a stun gun, under Penal Code 244.5, is a serious offense that necessitates a robust and strategic defense to mitigate these far-reaching consequences.

Why Inland Empire Criminal Defense?

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our seasoned Ontario attorney specializes in the defense of those accused under PC 244.5. Our approach is defined by thorough preparation, aggressive advocacy, and a deep understanding of the nuances of assault with a stun gun cases.

Our Commitment to Your Defense Includes:

  • Expert Legal Representation: Leveraging our expertise in assault with a stun gun charges to build a compelling defense.
  • Customized Defense Strategies: Crafting tailored defense plans that reflect the unique facts of your case.
  • Round-the-Clock Availability: Offering 24/7 support to address your concerns and guide you through the legal process.

Protect Your Future Today

The stakes are high with charges involving assault with a stun gun under PC 244.5. Taking prompt and decisive action is critical to safeguarding your future.

Reach Out for Dedicated Legal Support

For dedicated legal representation and a defense committed to achieving the best possible outcome in your case, contact our PC 244.5 Ontario attorney. The initial consultation is free, and we’re ready to answer your questions at any hour. Call Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126. Our office in Ontario, CA, stands prepared to protect and defend your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting avvo.com to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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