The criminal charge of assault with a deadly weapon is a serious one; it is a form of aggravated assault. Here are five important things you should know about this offense:
Ordinary Items May Be Classified As Deadly Weapons
Technically speaking, a deadly weapon is anything that can inflict kill or seriously injure a person. This means that even ordinary objects may be classified as deadly weapons provided the court is convinced that the said object could have caused a fatal injury or great harm to the victim. In most cases, this depends on how the ordinary object was used during the assault. For example, your shoe may not be a deadly weapon if you use its flat sole to slap another person on their back. However, the same shoe can be a deadly weapon if you use its sharp heel to clobber another person on the head.
A Weapon Can Be Considered Deadly Per Se
Although it is usually the court's role to determine whether an object used in an assault is a deadly weapon or not, this isn't always the case. There are some weapons that are considered so dangerous that they are automatically classified as deadly weapons. Most states include guns or knives under this category.
Parts of the Body May Be Classified As Deadly Weapons
An assault doesn't have to include a separate object for it to be considered assault with a deadly weapon; even parts of your body may be subjected to the same classification. It depends on the laws of your state as well as the harm that the part of the body may have caused the victim. For example, you can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon if you intentionally have unprotected sex with another person knowing that you are HIV positive.
Negligent Injury May Be Treated As Assault with a Deadly Weapon
In many states, your intention is considered when determining whether you should be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Most states will only charge you with this crime if you intended to harm the other person. However, some states disregard the element of intention, which means they can charge you with assault with a deadly weapon even if you had no intention of harming anyone. In such states, exceeding the speed limit around a school zone can make you be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Threats without Actions May Be Treated As Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Lastly, you should know that some states will charge you with assault with a deadly weapon for threatening, but not actually harming, another person. For example, such states can charge you with the crime merely for threatening to stab the other person even if you didn't actually stab them.
If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, you are facing serious criminal penalties should you lose your case. Consult a criminal law attorney as soon as possible to defend your case.