Definition of “Deadly Weapon” and “Dangerous Instrument”
According to Arizona law, a deadly weapon is anything designed to be lethal or capable of causing death. Arizona additionally defines “dangerous instruments,” and puts them on par with deadly weapons. Dangerous instruments are objects that could cause death or serious injury in specific scenarios. Therefore, many ordinary objects may be defined as dangerous instruments under the right circumstances.
Some of the most common examples of deadly weapons include:
- Assault rifles
- Brass knuckles
- Combat knives
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Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon is when someone uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to:
- Knowingly cause injury to another party; or
- Knowingly place another party in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.
Therefore, the intent of the accused is essential in determining if an object is a deadly weapon. If an individual commits assault with a weapon, they may be charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon, even if they were defending themselves from an attacker using a weapon.
What Are the Penalties for Using Deadly Weapons?
Regardless of the offense, using a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime can lead to criminal penalties that include prison time, fines, restitution, and a felony on your record.
An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Arizona will be charged with a Class 3 felony, which can include include 5 years minimum of incarceration, and a maximum of 21 years.
A class 2 felony can include 7 years minimum of prison time and a maximum of 21 years.
For repeat offenses, you can face even higher prison time.
Defenses for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
An attorney can review your situation and work with you to find the most effective defense possible. In some cases, you may need to utilize a justification defense that does not deny the act, but instead committed the act as a way to defend yourself
Some of the common defenses for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon can include:
- Self-defense against an attacker
- Protecting your home or property from threats
- Protecting others from physical harm
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