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Assault Charges Complicated by “Deadly Weapons”
Legal accusations of any kind can be a major hindrance to your way of life. A simple misunderstanding can escalate into a criminal charge that puts you in the position of defending your reputation and fighting to protect your rights. Things get especially complicated when the charges involve assault and even more so if a deadly weapon was allegedly involved. But what if the “deadly weapon” was actually just an innocuous item at the wrong time and place? No one wakes up hoping for violent conflict, but it’s important to understand how your every word and action during an altercation can be used to cast you in a negative light.
Elements of Assault
Assault is a legal term that generally refers to intentionally causing someone to fear that they will be harmed or experience offensive contact with another person. It’s important to note that assault does not necessarily involve physical contact. It predominantly revolves around the threat or perceived threat of physical harm.
To better understand assault, let’s break down its essential elements:
- Intent: Assault requires the intent to cause fear or apprehension in the victim. This means that the person accused of assault must have intended to make the victim feel threatened.
- Apprehension: The victim must reasonably perceive the threat of harm. If the victim genuinely believed they were in danger, then it qualifies as apprehension.
- Imminent Harm: The threat must involve imminent or immediate harm. In other words, it’s not enough to threaten harm at some undetermined point in the future; the harm must be impending.
What Constitutes a Deadly Weapon?
Assault with a deadly weapon is a more severe charge than simple assault. This charge arises when someone threatens another person with a weapon capable of causing serious bodily harm or death. A “deadly weapon” can include firearms , knives, or any object that can inflict significant harm. But an interesting caveat is that anything can be considered a deadly weapon if the alleged victim and prosecutor can spin the narrative in that direction.
Getting charged for assault with a deadly weapon has all the same requirements as traditional assault, with the added element of an object that can cause harm. With such a loose interpretation, the right circumstances can spin something as simple as a plastic toy into a force to be reckoned with. Whether or not the “deadly weapon” charge will hold up in court depends on many factors, but there is still a way to limit them to sticking with the facts. Using your right to remain silent.
Understanding the Differences and Impact
Assault with a deadly weapon is a more serious offense, as it implies a higher potential for severe physical harm or even death. If a conflict arises and whatever object is at your disposal is interpreted as a deadly weapon by your accuser, it’s understandable to want to clear the air when the police get involved. As much as you may want to say your piece, never speak to law enforcement without your attorney.
If you’ve been accused of or arrested for any crime, the first and most important step is to seek legal counsel. This is the best way to protect your rights and prevent the possibility of accidentally incriminating yourself. Even if there was no wrongdoing on your part, remaining silent and asking for an attorney is not an indicator of guilt. It’s your Constitutional right.
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will ensure you are well-prepared and advocate for a fair trial. At Petkovich Law Firm , we have an unwavering commitment to aggressively fighting to protect your rights and your future. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, reach out to our office as soon as possible by calling (305) 358-8003.
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