Deadly Weapon

What does Deadly Weapon mean?

A deadly weapon can include any instrument which is used with the intention of killing someone. Most often it refers to guns or knives, but it can also include any object wielded as a weapon such as a stick, bat, wrench, or motor vehicle. Court have also found that someone who has AIDS and who intentionally tries to bite or have unprotected sex with another person may be charged with a crime for using their body as a deadly weapon.

Assault with a deadly weapon occurs if someone attacks someone while possessing a physical object which can be used to inflict death or serious injury. Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony in all states. As mentioned above, the object can be considered “deadly” if it is dangerous due to its design or construction. It need not be a weapon per se.

If the “deadly weapon” is not considered a weapon per se, such as a gun or knife, the prosecution may have to present additional evidence about the potential of the “weapon” to cause bodily injury.

Proving assault with a deadly weapon

Generally to be found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon the state must prove the following:

  • The defendant assaulted someone
  • The defendant did so willfully and with the intent of injuring them
  • The defendant had a weapon in their possession which was considered deadly or was a firearm
  • The defendant acted with force which was likely to seriously injury or kill someone

Penalties for assault with a deadly weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is considered a felony. Defendants found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon will face the possibility of a prison sentence, although the amount of time in prison can vary by state, by crime, and by injury. The age of the defendant and their criminal record may also increase or decrease the sentence. Some defendants, who are not U.S. citizens, may also lose their right to own a firearm or face deportation if convicted.

Additional penalties can include fines, probation, and anger management classes.

Criminal defenses for assault with a deadly weapon

Defendants accused of assault with a deadly weapon may present several defenses against the charges.

For example, they may argue that they did not use a deadly weapon during the attack, they did not use force likely to kill or injure someone, they acted in self-defense or in defense of another person (although the force should not have been more than necessary to repel the attacker and they believed their life was in immediate danger), or they did not act intentionally or with the intent to injure or kill.

Finally, the defendant may also argue that they were not the person who committed the offense. Even if there is a witness, a defense lawyer may be able to reasonably argue that the witness has misidentified the defendant.

If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney immediately. Certain judges may have some discretion in sentencing. A good lawyer may be able to clearly argue your case, and in some cases, get the prosecution to offer a lesser charge, such as misdemeanor assault.

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Criminal Law Attorneys near Ashburn VA

Jennifer Raimo, PLLC

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Greenspun Shapiro PC

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