Two Minors Charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon using Bottle Water (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1))

Rabin Nabizadeh
May 13, 2014

In recent posts, we reported on the young girl driving a Mercedes SUV who ran over a teenage boy after he threw a water bottle at her vehicle.  In that case, the girl was the focus, but in this case, things are different.  Two teenage boys, aged 15 and 16 respectively, have been arrested for their February crime of tossing water bottles in Sonoma County.  Allegedly, the boys were simply driving around and throwing full bottles at other motorists sharing the road.  Reports say that these actions resulted in smashed windows and scared the drivers of said vehicles.  They have been arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon that is likely to cause great bodily injury, water bottles.

In the state of California, assault with a deadly weapon, otherwise referred to as ADW, is a serious crime with harsh penalties (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1)).  As it is a ‘wobbler,’ prosecutors have the discretion to treat it either as a misdemeanor or as a felony.  If the boys are indeed guilty of assaulting individuals and their vehicles with water bottles, we must first ask if this counts as a ‘deadly weapon.’  According to California law, if an assault occurs and is “likely to cause great bodily injury,” then even something as seemingly innocuous as a bottle of water could fall into this category.  In fact, nearly any object could be considered a ‘deadly weapon’ if used the above mentioned manner.

If convicted of charges pursuant to CA PC 245(a)(1), the 2 boys may face either $10,000 in fines and 1 year in county jail (misdemeanor) and the possibility of community service or up to 4 years in state prison, the same fines, a strike under the ‘3 Strikes’ law and the cost of restitution to the victims who’s windows were broken and who experienced emotional distress due to the incidents.

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