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Assault With a Deadly Weapon On a School Employee

Threatening to hurt someone, even if you do not intend on following through with it is still a crime. Making any
attempts to hurt another person is also a crime. The penalties only worsen if you attempt to harm someone using a
deadly weapon. If the alleged victim is a school employee, the prosecution will fight hard to get a conviction.

Attempting to dispute an offense for assault without legal help can be extremely difficult. It is highly recommended
you find legal representation as soon as possible. A professional criminal defense attorney will know what legal
defense is needed to fight this charge. To better understand this law, let’s take a look at how California defines
what it means to assault a school employee using a deadly weapon.

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Definition of PC 245.5

Assault with a deadly weapon (AWD) on a school employee is outlined under California Penal Code 245.5. This law
states it is a crime to:

  • Attempt to assault a school employee with a deadly weapon,
  • Knowing that the alleged victim is a school employee, and
  • That employee was engaged in performing their professional duties, either on or off school property.

This statute includes three main sections, each concerning what type of deadly weapon was used.

  • PC 245.5(c), assault with a stun gun or taser on a school employee.
  • PC 245.5(b), assault with a firearm on a school employee.
  • PC 245.5(a), assault with a deadly weapon (other than a firearm) on a school employee.

What is considered assault?

The unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury on another person and having the present ability to follow through
with that act is the California definition of assault.

What is considered a deadly weapon?

A firearm, stun gun, or taser are all considered deadly weapons. Other instruments that fall under the deadly weapons
category include knives, baseball bats, a sword, a club, a glass bottle, or blunt objects. California law defines a
deadly weapon as any object that is inherently deadly (i.e. firearm or knife) or an object that is used in such a
manner that it is capable of causing great bodily injury or death.

Examples of Deadly Weapons (other than firearms or knives):

  • Opening your car door in an attempt to knock someone down as you drive by them. The motor vehicle you were
    driving can be considered a deadly weapon.
  • Throwing a brick at someone, attempting to hit them in the head with it. A brick is a hard object, that if used
    violently, could cause severe bodily injury.
  • Filling a sock with rocks and swinging it at someone, attempting to hit them.
  • Using a slingshot with sharpened darts and aiming them at someone’s face.

Who is considered a school employee?

A person who is employed by the school or school district, either through permanent or probationary certifications or
classifications, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time is covered under this law. This includes any
teachers, tutors, administrators, counselors, nurses, office secretaries, lunch persons, custodians/janitors,
crossing guards, playground monitors, or bus drivers.

If the alleged victim was a police officer who has been assigned to perform their duties at a school, the defendant
would not face a PC 245.5 offense. Instead, they could be charged with a range of other offenses such as:

  • PC 245(c), assault with a deadly weapon (other than a firearm) on a peace officer.
  • PC 245(d), assault with a firearm on a police officer.
  • PC 241(c), assault on a police officer.
  • PC 243(b) and PC 243(c), battery on a peace officer.

Closely Related Offenses

Similar offenses can be added to the list of charges if the defendant attempted to assault more than one person. If,
for instance, the other victim(s) were not school employees, the defendant would be guilty of multiple counts of
assault. Anytime there is a firearm involved in the alleged assault, expect harsh consequences even if the weapon
was never used.

California PC 217.1 – Assault on a public official;

Assaulting a public official or a member of a public official’s immediate family, either out of revenge, retaliation,
or to prevent the public official from performing their official duties is a crime under this law.

California PC 240 – Assault;

The unlawful attempt to violently attack another individual and having the present ability to follow through with
that act is prohibited under this law.

California PC 242 – Battery;

Also known as a “simple battery,” this statute prohibits the willful and unlawful use of physical force or violence
on another person.

California PC 245(a)(1) – Assault with a deadly weapon;

Attacking or attempting to attack another person with a deadly weapon or in a manner that is likely to cause great
bodily injury is punishable under this law.

California PC 245(a)(2) – Assault with a firearm;

This crime is committed by assaulting someone with a firearm such as a pistol, rifle, shotgun, machine gun,
semi-automatic, or other assault-style weapons.

California PC 417 – Brandishing a weapon or firearm;

This law makes it a crime to brandish, draw, exhibit, or show a deadly weapon or firearm, or to use one while in a
physical altercation or fight.

California PC 12202.4 – Aiding or abetting a felony with a firearm;

Furnishing or attempting to furnish a firearm to someone else for the purposes of aiding or abetting them to commit a
felony is punishable under this law.

The Prosecution

Assault with a deadly weapon on a school employee is not taken lightly by the prosecution. They will seek a
conviction due to the nature of the offense. Do not be surprised if they choose to pursue felony charges, especially
if the incident took place in the presence of other people or if it was on school grounds. It is particularly more
serious if an AWD on a school employee took place during school hours or when children were present.

For the prosecution to get a conviction for PC 245.5, they must first prove beyond a reasonable doubt the facts of
the case. These factors are referred to as the elements of the crime.

Elements of the Crime

  • The defendant assaulted a school employee using a deadly weapon, and
    • They unlawfully and willfully touched or attempted to touch a school employee in a harmful, violent, or
      offensive manner.
  • The defendant should have known or already knew that the alleged victim was a school employee, and
    • It does not matter whether the alleged victim was full-time or part-time, a teacher or a lunchroom
      worker. If the school has employed them in any capacity, they fall under this category.
  • The defendant knew or should have known the school employee was engaged in performing their duties while they
    were on or off school property. 

    • Off school property examples:
      • The school employee was on a field trip,
      • Running a work-related errand,
      • En route to or from school grounds,
      • At a parent-teacher conference, or
      • At a staff meeting or training event.

Who Can Face Charges

These examples illustrate, in detail, who can be charged with PC 245.5, assault with a deadly weapon on a school
employee. If you or someone you care about can relate to any of these situations, contact a legal defense attorney
as soon as you can. Acting quickly is essential to defending yourself against such accusations.

A criminal defense lawyer will fight on your behalf to gain the most desirable outcome. An experienced legal defense
attorney may be able to get you minimal charges, possibly getting them reduced or get them dropped altogether.

Example 1:

Sarge was mad at the parent-teacher conference because his child’s teacher was recommending the child be held back.
He waited until the teacher pulled her car out of the parking lot before throwing a brick at their windshield. The
impact broke the glass and caused the teacher to drive into a light post. Sarge’s actions resulted in the teacher
suffering a concussion along with cuts and bruises. He could be charged with PC 245.5 for assault with a deadly
weapon on a school employee.

Example 2:

Chandra got mad at her daughter’s cheerleading coach for not using her daughter at the top of the pyramid. Her
daughter’s grades were falling, so the coach excluded her from an upcoming competition unless the grades improved.
Instead of focusing on helping her daughter get better grades, she attempted to bribe the coach with money. The
coach refused. Chandra pulled out a pocket knife from her purse, threatened the coach, and made stabbing motions at
her. Still, the coach refused to give in and was able to dodge the strikes. Chandra could be charged with PC 245.5
for attempting to assault a school employee using a knife, which falls under the category of deadly weapons.

Legal Defense

There are legal defenses that have been used to dispute charges for assault with a deadly weapon on a school
employee. A professional criminal defense lawyer will have the expertise to find the best route in challenging these
allegations. They will also be familiar with some of the most common legal defenses.

Did you have a deadly weapon?

The definition of a deadly weapon can be specific, such as a stun gun, laser, knife, or firearm. However, it can also
be vague and it is not unheard of for an alleged victim to exaggerate the use of the supposedly “deadly weapon.” It
must be clearly stated, if the weapon in question is not capable of causing serious bodily injury, it should not be
considered a deadly weapon.

Example:

Shawnee was angry with her son’s school principal for suspending him from school for a week. She waited outside his
office window with a sack of tomatoes. Once he opened his window, she began throwing tomatoes at him. His office and
upper body were covered in them. One of the tomatoes hit him in the mouth, while it was open. He began coughing as
it triggered his gag reflex. The school principal pressed charges for assault and wanted to charge Shawnee with PC
245.5.

In this case, a sack of soft tomatoes does not rise to the level of a “deadly weapon.” Shawnee would not face charges
for PC 245.5, because although being pelted with tomatoes is humiliating it was not likely to lead to great bodily
injury.

Was the victim a school employee?

If the alleged victim was not a school employee, you should not be charged under PC 245.5. For example, a volunteer
who is not employed by the school is a victim of an assault with a deadly weapon while they were on the school
campus. Even if they were in the middle of their volunteer duties while on school grounds, they would not fall under
the definition of a school employee. The attacker would not be guilty of PC 245.5, but will still face an assault
with a deadly weapon offense under PC 245(a)(1).

Were you aware the alleged victim was a school employee?

To be guilty of PC 245.5, the defendant must have reasonably known the alleged victim was a school employee. If they
truly did not know, they should not be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a school employee.

Example:

Tony was hungry and desperate. He spotted a guy sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich. He wanted to steal the
guys’ food and his wallet. He picked up a broken glass bottle from the trashcan and decided to attack him. The man
who was eating a sandwich was a bus driver and managed to run back to his bus as Tony attempted to stab him. Tony
did not see the school bus, nor was he aware the victim was a school employee. Driven by hunger, he attempted to
assault and rob the man. Tony should not be guilty of PC 245.5, but could still face charges for PC 245(a)(1),
assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted robbery.

Penalties for PC 245.5

If convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a school employee under PC 245.5, you face a wobbler. This means,
depending on the details of the case, the prosecution can choose to pursue either misdemeanor or felony charges. The
penalties depend on the type of weapon used to commit the assault.

Misdemeanor;

PC 245.5(c) – Stun gun or taser was used,

As long as one year in county jail.

PC 245.5(b) – A firearm was used,

Between six months and one year in county jail.

PC 245.5(a) – A deadly weapon, other than a firearm, was used,

As long as one year in county jail.

Felony;

PC 245.5(c) – Stun gun or taser was used,

2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.

PC 245.5(b) – A firearm was used,

4, 6, or 8 years in state prison.

PC 245.5(a) – A deadly weapon, other than a firearm, was used,

3, 4, or 5 years in state prison.

Enhanced Penalties

The school employee and other alleged victims are within their rights to bring a civil suit against the defendant.
They may choose to sue the defendant for punitive damages, especially if they suffered any financial losses from
missing work or seeking counseling as a result of the defendant’s attack.

If more than one school employee was the victim of an attempted assault with a deadly weapon, the defendant will face
multiple counts of PC 245.5. This means longer incarceration times in county jail or state prison.

In cases where the defendant had help in their plans to assault someone, the person who “helped” them can be held
accountable for their involvement as well. For instance, an individual who chose to provide a firearm to someone
they knew was going to commit a felony, could face a PC 12202.4 offense.

California PC 12202.4 – Aiding or abetting a felony with a firearm;

Sentencing enhancement;

1, 2, or 3-year prison sentence added to the underlying felony offense.

Example:

Marshall was angry with the high school football coach for benching his son for part of the season. He was so upset,
he wanted to start a fight with the coach. His wife was angry too and decided to buy a gun. She gave the gun to
Marshall, knowing he was going to get into an altercation with the school coach.

Marshall attempted the head coach of the football team using the gun his wife bought. He aimed low and shot at the
coach as they were walking into the locker room, narrowly missing their leg.

Not only will Marshall face a PC 245.5(b) offense for AWD, using a firearm on a school employee, but his wife will
also face charges for aiding her husband in a potential felony by providing the weapon.

Does this affect Gun Rights?

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives every citizen the right to keep and bear arms. However,
California’s felon with a firearm law, PC 29800, prohibits anyone who is convicted of a felony from owning
or possessing a firearm.

If you are convicted of AWD on a school employee and you receive felony penalties, you will lose your gun rights.
Violating this law will lead to further felony charges. If you have a felony conviction on your criminal record, and
you possess a firearm to commit PC 245.5, you will face harsher punishments.

Example:

Dave already had a felony conviction on his record. His daughter, Simone, was failing one of her classes and lied to
her father about why. She stated the teacher was biased and mistreated her all the time. Instead of communicating
this with the school and getting to the bottom of it, he believed his daughter and took matters into his own hands.
He waited until the teacher was driving out of the school parking lot before pulling out a handgun and shooting out
the back window.

Dave could be charged with assault with a firearm on a school employee, PC 245.5, and will face enhanced penalties
under PC 29800, felon with a firearm which carries felony consequences. He could face a potential three years in
county jail (to be served consecutively) and fines as high as ten thousand dollars.

In PC 29800 cases, the judge does have the discretion to award formal (felony) probation instead of jail time.
However, it may be unlikely in this case because Dave already has a felony on his record, he violated PC 29800 and
is also guilty of PC 245.5.

Penalties for Associated Offenses

Trying to fight multiple offenses without a legal defense lawyer to assist you can quickly become overwhelming. Avoid
that struggle by getting the help of a professional legal defense attorney today.

PC 217.1 – Assault on a public official;

Misdemeanor;

Summary (informal) probation,

As long as one year in county jail, and/or

Fines as high as one thousand dollars.

Felony;

Formal (felony) probation,

16 months, 2 or 3 years in county jail, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

PC 240 – Assault;

Misdemeanor;

Informal (misdemeanor) probation,

A possible six-month county jail sentence, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

PC 242 – (simple) Battery;

Misdemeanor;

Summary (informal) probation,

As long as six months in county jail, and/or

Potential fines of up to two thousand dollars.

PC 245(a)(1) – Assault with a deadly weapon;

Misdemeanor;

Misdemeanor (summary) probation,

A possible one-year sentence in county jail, and/or

As much as one thousand dollars in fines.

Felony;

Formal (felony) probation,

A state prison sentence of up to 4, 5, or 12 years, and/or

Fines as high as ten thousand dollars.

PC 245(a)(2) – Assault with a firearm;

Misdemeanor;

Informal (summary) probation,

A minimum of six months to as long as one year in county jail, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

Felony;

Formal (felony) probation,

A possible state prison sentence of between 2 or 12 years, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

PC 417 – Brandishing a weapon or firearm;

Misdemeanor;

A possible three months or up to one year in county jail, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

Felony;

As long as three years in state prison.

Let Us Help

Do not get discouraged if you have a tough time trying to find a trusted legal defense attorney. We can help. If you
are located in San Diego, Orange County, or Los Angeles and need a criminal defense lawyer, contact the Law Office
of Anna R. Yum. Fighting charges for PC 245.5 or any of the related offenses without the right help is frustrating
and not necessary. Let us assist you.

Attorney Yum is a highly regarded criminal defense lawyer who has earned multiple awards for her expertise and
success. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Yum understands what is at stake when faced with such charges. Let her
help you fight for control of your future.

Simply call us at 619-233-4433 to schedule your no-obligation, free consultation. For
added convenience, you can also use our online contact form. If you would like more information concerning an
assault with a deadly weapon on a school employee or any of the associated offenses, do not hesitate to ask. We
welcome all inquiries.