This week saw singer Chris Brown arrested after police received a report from a woman alleging he threatened her with a firearm. According to the woman’s report, the singer pointed a gun at her during an argument before she left his home. Apparently, a man in Brown’s home was selling diamond jewelry, and the woman admired one of the crosses for sale. A dispute between two other people erupted, during which the woman was told she needed to leave. It was at that point that Brown allegedly pulled his gun, pointed it at her, and demanded she leave his home. After she exited, she said someone approached her with her shoes and cellphone who then tried to get her to sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement regarding what happened inside.
She made her initial report to police at around 3 in the morning, shortly after the alleged altercation occurred.
Police responded by sending several patrol cars to Brown’s home. Upon arrival, Brown refused to come outside and speak with officers at their request. Later, Brown became more cooperative with detectives. He was arrested under suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and later posted his $250,000 bail.
Assault with a deadly weapon is covered under California Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC and is described as committing assault with a so-called “deadly weapon” or with force likely to produce great bodily injury. Assault, it should be noted, does not necessarily mean one has to make contact with someone else. Under California Law, assault is described as the attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else when you have the ability to do so.
Cases of assault with a deadly weapon are “wobblers,” meaning that they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. Misdemeanor penalties include summary probation, up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Felony penalties include formal probation, 2, 3 or 4 years in California state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Because the weapon in Brown’s case is a firearm, the misdemeanor penalties are altered slightly to include a minimum of 6 months in county jail.