Assault is defined as a physical attack. Assault escalates quickly when use of a deadly weapon accompanies a physical attack. The law refers to this as assault with a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon is defined as any tangible item with the ability to cause a person serious bodily harm, injury, or death. When used during assault, a deadly weapon can become anything from a gun to a hammer to a car. Unlike other laws which differ slightly from state to state, assault with a deadly weapon is a felony crime in every state.
Classifying a Deadly Weapon
As previously mentioned, any object used during assault that could inflict serious injury or death to a person becomes a deadly weapon. Common weapons such as guns and knives of all forms are always considered deadly weapons. This classification expands the definition of a knife or gun to a deadly weapon per se. When classified in this manner, prosecuting attorneys are exempt from providing evidence that the weapon could, in fact, be used in a deadly fashion.
A good example of assault with a deadly weapon per se is as follows. A victim is physically attacked by the defendant with a pencil. The defendant uses the pencil to stab the victim. While most people never consider a pencil more than a means with which to write, prosecutors now need to prove the pencil has the ability to cause death or serious injury to the victim. If the same victim was assaulted with a knife, the case is assault with a deadly weapon per se. No proof that the knife is capable of causing serious injury or death is needed.
Anything can be used as a deadly weapon if it’s used during assault to cause injury. A shoe can become a deadly weapon when used to hit a victim repeatedly. The defendant can cause harm to another person with virtually any object, but all assault with a deadly weapons cases are different.
According to both state and national laws, even the body can be used as a deadly weapon in an assault case. The most common body parts classified as deadly weapons in assault cases are knees, arms, and feet. Even teeth can be considered a deadly weapon, particularly if the person attacking another knows he or she is HIV+ and capable of spreading their incurable disease to another person in this manner.
Felony Charges for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
This is a felony charge. In a court of law, felony is defined as a typically violent crime “regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor,” which means the charges are more serious. Anyone accused of assault with a deadly weapon faces prison. These cases see trial, and a judge provides the appropriate punishment for the crime if a defendant is found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
The most common punishment is prison. However, the severity of the sentence depends on numerous factors:
– Seriousness of the injury
– Seriousness of the attack
– The defendant’s prior record
– Age of the defendant
New York law further divides this charge into additional categories. First-degree assault is a Class B felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Second-degree assault is a Class D felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to 7 years in prison. Class B felonies and Class D felonies both require certain levels of assault. Both Class B and D felonies must include a victim with an injury, and both must be caused by either reckless behavior or intentional behavior. As evidenced by the severity of the prison sentences possible with each class, Class B felony assault requires a victim with serious injuries.
A felony assault with a deadly weapon charge in New York could cost an accused party as much as 25 years in prison. It’s a serious charge, and it’s one in which you require a knowledgeable, experienced attorney. Your sentence is issued based on several factors, including the strength of your defense. Without an experienced attorney by your side during a felony assault with a deadly weapon trial, your chance of going to prison increases significantly.