What is Considered a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument in Arizona?
Being arrested and charged for assault with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is a very serious matter in Arizona. A conviction can result in significant penalties, which can include a mandatory severe prison sentence, hefty fines, and lifelong consequences once you are released. It’s imperative that you contact an experienced Phoenix criminal attorney right away if you are facing deadly weapons charges in Arizona.
Here’s what you need to know about how Arizona law classifies deadly weapons to help you better understand the charges you are facing.
What are Deadly Weapons and Dangerous Instruments?
Most people know handguns, assault rifles, knives, etc. can be declared a deadly weapon. However, those are not the only ones. The law defines a deadly weapon as anything that is designed to be lethal or could be capable of causing someone’s death. Other examples include machetes, explosives, brass knuckles, etc.
Arizona also has a definition of dangerous instruments, which can also be considered deadly weapons. A dangerous instrument could be anything that causes death to someone or serious injury in certain situations. What this means is that ordinary objects can be declared as dangerous instruments in some circumstances.
Dangerous instruments are not necessarily designed to be deadly, but they can be capable of causing someone’s death. Some examples can include a baseball bat, heavy rocks or bricks, a hockey stick, screwdriver, razor blade or box cutter, etc.
Many people do not realize that even a vehicle can be deemed a deadly weapon when you are involved in an accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol that results in a physical injury or fatality.
What is Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Arizona?
Assault with a deadly weapon is when you use a dangerous instrument or weapon to intentionally knowingly and often, recklessly cause injury to another person. It could also be when you knowingly place someone else in reasonable apprehension of impending physical injuries.
Defenses to Deadly Weapons Charges
If you are charged with a crime involving deadly weapons, all hope is not lost. There may be one or more defenses available to you, which is why it’s imperative you contact a Phoenix criminal defense attorney right away.
There are two main categories of defenses in Arizona. The first involves justification defenses while the other is based on statutory and procedural laws. Examples of justification defenses include:
- Self-defense or justification
- Defense of a third party
- Protection of property or home due to possible harm or threat
- In response to use of deadly force against you
Other defenses related to procedural law include:
- Violation of due process
- Error with rules of evidence
- Violation of fourth or fifth amendment rights
- Insufficient evident
- Prejudicial testimony
These are just a few of the potential defenses that may be available in your case. Your attorney will go over your case strategy and let you know what specific defenses they plan to raise on your behalf.
Contact an Arizona Criminal Lawyer Today
If you need assistance with a deadly weapons charge in Arizona, let our experienced Phoenix criminal defense team help. Contact Blumberg & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation.