Orange, and Los Angeles counties. John M. Holmes built this criminal defense firm on a foundation of ethical and aggressive representation. Mr. Holmes takes pride in handling your case from start to finish, and he is available for his clients 24-7.

This office handles every type of violent crime or weapons case, from simple assault to possession of a firearm. If you were arrested for battery with or without great bodily injury, illegal possession of a deadly weapon, possession of an illegal firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, or use of a firearm, contact the Law Office of John M. Holmes. This firm can help ease the burden on your family and keep you out of jail.

In San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, violent crimes and weapons cases are treated seriously and prosecuted aggressively. There is a broad spectrum of criminal charges in this area, and a careful investigation and factual analysis is critical to protect your rights. Mr. Holmes will conduct a thorough investigation, looking

ASSAULT

Simple Assault

In California, an assault is defined as the performance of an act that is likely to result in the application of force to another person. Specifically, no actual force upon another person is required, only that you attempted to commit such an act, and you had the ability to do so. However, the act must be purposeful and deliberate.

Accidentally striking another person rarely constitutes an assault, and often, is a successful defense to the charge (unless you intend to strike one person and accidentally hit another person). Other defenses include: consent, self-defense, prevention of a crime, or defense of property.

Simple assault is a misdemeanor and is usually charged where there is minimal or zero injury to the alleged victim. A person convicted of assault faces up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Mr. Holmes has been successful in alternate sentencing, including anger management classes, a batterer’s program, probation, deferred entry of judgment, diversion and/or community service.

It is important to properly protect yourself from even a misdemeanor assault charge, because a violent history can affect many areas of your life including employment. Mr. Holmes will aggressively and effectively manage your case to protect your livelihood.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) is a serious charge, but it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a felony, a person faces a prison sentence for 2, 3, or 4 years. A prosecutor can charge assault with a deadly weapon (also known as “aggravated assault”) under California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) where: 1) you use a deadly weapon or other instrument capable of producing great bodily injury; and/or 2) the alleged victim is seriously injured.

Deadly weapons can include practically anything. Even normally “innocent” items can potentially become deadly weapons provided they have the ability to cause substantial or significant harm to another person if used in a threatening manner. These objects include: beer bottles, pencils/pens, bricks, darts, logs, keys, etc.

Hands and feet do not qualify as deadly weapons as they are attached parts of the human body; however, feet and hands can qualify where they are used in a manner that is likely to produce substantial or significant harm (great bodily injury). Great bodily injury includes: badly broken bones, brain damage, lacerations requiring extensive suturing, broken teeth, concussion, and serious disfigurement.

Assault with a deadly weapon can have serious damaging effects on your life and reputation. It is important to carefully examine the facts in this type of case, because often favorable witnesses are never interviewed. Mr. Holmes and his investigators will thoroughly investigate your case until every minute detail is uncovered.

BATTERY

Simple Battery

In order to prove a charge of simple battery, the prosecutor must show that you willfully used force or violence upon another person. This simply means that you intend and actually do use physical force against someone. The difference between an assault and a battery is whether you actually make physical contact. An assault is essentially the reasonable fear of a battery.

The slightest touch of another person can result in a battery charge when the physical contact is made in an angry and/or offensive manner. Poking, spitting, grabbing, slapping, punching kicking, etc. can constitute a battery. Successful defenses include self-defense, consent, accident, or defense of others.

Simple battery is a misdemeanor and is usually charged where there is minimal injury to the alleged victim. A person convicted of battery faces up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. In battery related cases, Mr. Holmes has been successful in alternate sentencing, including anger management classes, a batterer’s program, probation, deferred entry of judgment, diversion and/or community service.

Although simple battery is not the most serious criminal charge, it is important to protect yourself from a conviction based on violence. Many potential employers will not hire people with a violent history. Mr. Holmes will aggressively and effectively defend your case and protect your rights.

Battery with Serious Bodily Injury

  • Under California Penal Code Section 243(d), battery with serious bodily injury is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A person convicted of this charge can face up to four years in State Prison for a first offense.
  • Serious bodily injury includes loss of consciousness, fractured bones, serious disfigurement, lacerations requiring extensive suturing, protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ.
  • Successful defenses are similar to simple battery, which include self-defense, consent, accident, or defense of others. Careful examination of the facts can provide important mitigation to a prosecutor and sometimes get the charge amended to a simple battery or dismissed entirely.
  • Battery with serious bodily injury is a serious charge with serious consequences. It is critical that you retain a private lawyer with the investigatory experience to careful examine the circumstances of your case. Mr. Holmes and his investigators explore every fact in detail, often leading to a favorable defense for their clients.

UNLAWFUL CARRYING & POSSESSION OF WEAPONS

California Penal Code Section 12020

California Penal Code Section 12020 prohibits manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing certain weapons. All of the prohibited weapons in the section are short, easily concealed weapons that can cause significant damage when wielded with force. These unlawful weapons include (but not limited to): simulated firearm; exploding bullet, multiburst trigger activator; nunchakus; short-barreled shotgun or rifle (sawed-off shotgun or rifle); metal knuckles (brass knuckles); belt buckle knife; shuriken (throwing star); blackjack (small, leather wrapped billy club); or a dirk or dagger concealed on someone’s person (a knife or other instrument capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death).

A Penal Code Section 12020 crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction carries a stiffer penalty, with a maximum sentence of three years in State Prison and a $10,000 fine.

Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public

In California, a person can lawfully carry an unloaded firearm in public, provided the firearm is not concealed (plain view). However, under California Penal Code Section 12031, a person may not carry a loaded firearm in public (on his/her person or in a vehicle). A firearm is loaded where there is an unexpended bullet in a firing chamber or attached clip.

Absent aggravating circumstances, this charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. This charge becomes a “wobbler” where you are not listed as the registered owner of the firearm (with the Department of Justice), you were previously convicted of a crime against a person or property, or you were convicted of a narcotics or dangerous drug crime. Penal Code 12031 becomes a straight felony, if: you have a previous felony conviction or other firearm offense; the firearm was stolen and you knew or reasonably should have known it was stolen; you unlawfully possess the firearm; or you are an active participant in a criminal street gang. If charged as a felony, you face up to three years in State Prison and a $10,000 fine.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm

California Penal Code Section 12025 prohibits a person from carrying or causing to be carried a concealed firearm on his person or in a vehicle. A firearm in plain view does not qualify under this statute. However, some partially concealed weapons have been successfully prosecuted under certain circumstances.

Absent aggravating circumstances, this charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. This charge becomes a “wobbler” where: you were previously convicted of a crime against a person or property; you were convicted of a narcotics or dangerous drug crime; or the firearm is loaded (or readily accessible ammunition) AND you are not listed as the registered owner (with the Department of Justice). Penal Code 12025 becomes a straight felony, if: you have a previous felony conviction or other firearm offense; the firearm was stolen and you knew or reasonably should have known it was stolen; you unlawfully possess the firearm; or you are an active participant in a criminal street gang. If charged as a felony, you face up to three years in State Prison and a $10,000 fine.

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

California Penal Code Section 12021 prohibits persons from possessing a firearm if they have a felony conviction in California (or any state or federal felony conviction) or they are addicted to any narcotic drug. Additionally, Penal Code Sections 12021(a), 12021(b), and 12021.1 prohibit the possession of a firearm with certain misdemeanor convictions, including (but not limited to): assault with a deadly weapon, certain brandishing weapon offenses under California Penal Code Section 417, and a multitude of sex crimes.

A person convicted of this charge faces sixteen months, two years, or three years in State Prison. Additionally the person may be required to pay up to a $10,000 fine and forfeit their firearm.

Defenses

There are a variety of successful defenses to an illegal weapon possession charge. Having a permit for the weapon, no knowledge of the weapon, and illegal search and seizure are some of the most typically used defenses.

Under California Penal Code Section 12050, a person may apply for a concealed weapons permit (provided they meet the requirements). Where the person has obtained a valid permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon (CCW), a charge for carrying a concealed firearm under Penal Code 12025 or a loaded firearm under 12031 will generally be dismissed. However, if the weapon is in a common area of a vehicle, another passenger might still be charged with the concealed firearm, depending on the circumstances.

Quite often, officers illegally search and seize evidence, including weapons. Generally, police must have probable cause (a reasonable belief that you are involved in criminal activity), a search warrant, or voluntary consent in order to search a person or property. Where an illegal search and seizure is conducted, the defense can bring a Suppression of Evidence motion (pursuant to Penal Code Section 1538.5), and if successful, the evidence cannot be used against the defendant.

If you did not knowingly possess the prohibited weapon, then you did not commit a crime. Frequently, a weapon is found, and anyone in close proximity to the weapon is charged. However, if you did not know about the weapon, then it is impossible for you to have possessed the illegal weapon. This defense is also successful where you accidentally possessed an illegal weapon. For example, you are at a friend’s house and you accidentally grab their bag instead of yours on the way out—you have not committed any crime.

Illegal weapon possession is a serious conviction. A history of weapons can prevent people from obtaining many jobs and the penalties can be severe with a potentially lengthy prison term. It is important to not only conduct a thorough investigation, but also to efficiently defend against the charge. Mr. Holmes will stand behind you every step of the way, while using the most effective and aggressive strategy to uphold your rights.

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