Most of us have heard about the phenomenon of “road rage” many times. Usually, someone becomes angry or violent while driving a vehicle. But, have you ever heard of road rage occurring on a bicycle? For one Marin County tech executive, this is the new reality. 40-year-old Kentfield resident (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was cycling near the intersection of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto (Mill Valley) when a 55-year-old truck driver somehow angered him. The cyclist then proceeded to assault the man, beating him until he was unconscious. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon (ADW).
Yet, how can a man on a bicycle be accused of assaulting someone with a deadly weapon when he had no weapon with him? That’s because in the state of California, assault with a deadly weapon is not only a “wobbler” (it may be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony), but you needn’t used an actual weapon in order to fit the criteria for the crime. According to (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1)), assaulting someone with a force that is “likely to cause great bodily injury” counts as using a “deadly weapon” and the same penalties apply.
If he is convicted of a misdemeanor charge pursuant to the above section of the Penal Code, he may face a $10,000 fine, up to 1 year in county jail, community service, anger management classes, and payment of restitution to the victim. On the other hand, if he is convicted of a felony charge of the same, he will face up to 4 years in state prison, the same fines, and (likely) a strike on his record according to California’s “three strikes” law.