What is a Deadly Weapon?
We typically think of deadly weapons as being something obvious like a gun or knife. However, everyday "innocent" objects or instruments will qualify when used in ways that are likely to result in severe harm to another.
California’s Penal Code section 245(a)(1) defines "deadly weapon" as an object, instrument, or weapon that is capable of producing and likely to produce death or great bodily injury.5 Hands and feet are not considered "deadly weapons", as the definition is limited to objects that are not part of one’s body.6
Let’s look at some situations where otherwise "innocent" objects will qualify as deadly weapons when used to intentionally harm another.
Swinging a beer bottle at another
Threatening to stab another in the neck with a sharp pencil
Ramming your car into another person or another’s car (while the individual is inside)
All of these items...the bottle, pencil, and vehicle...are perfectly innocent when used normally. However, "deadly weapon" is a catchall and can include anything (other than a body part) that has the ability to cause substantial harm to another if used in a threatening way. This means that
a beer bottle,
a cigarette lighter,
a rock, or
anything else (when used in a manner likely to harm another)
qualifies as a "deadly weapon" pursuant to Penal Code 245 (a) (1) PC.