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Assault with a deadly weapon is defined as the unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability to commit a violent injury on the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than firearm, or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. CPC 245. Under this definition, if you even point an unloaded gun at a person, you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Assault with a deadly weapon is considered a strike (See Strike Cases) under the California Three Strikes Law. Conviction of a strike means that if a defendant picks up or accrues a new felony, he must serve at least twice the minimum term/punishment for the new felony.

Conviction of assault with a deadly weapon will also lead to losing your right to bear arms, being subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, and losing your voting rights.