“Assault with a deadly weapon” is an additional crime that can increase your charges and penalties. If convicted, the results can have a major impact on your case. While you may think that “deadly weapons” are limited to guns, knives or other dangerous instrument, the law has been applied to household items and other objects. In the state of Alabama, you can be convicted of “assault with a deadly weapon” if you use any instrument recklessly, intentionally, or with criminal negligence and cause physical injury to another person. Depending on intent and the severity of the victims’ injuries, you could face felony or misdemeanor charges.
Courts and juries are harsh when it comes to violent crimes. Many cases involve a “he-said, she-said,” situation with competing versions of the facts, especially if the defendant and victims had a prior relationship. There are a number of defenses that should be raised, including self-defense. Our Birmingham criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals who have been accused and charged with violent crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon. We will review the facts of your case and provide a thorough, result-driven defense focused on achieving the best possible outcome in your case.
Under Alabama law, a “deadly weapon” may include a firearm, knife, or any other weapon that has been designed for the purposes of inflicting injury. Other examples include swords, metal knuckles, a dagger, black-jack, or bludgeon. A dangerous instrument could be any article or substance that has been used or attempted to be used under the circumstances. You could also be charged if you allegedly used the article, instrument or substance in a threatening manner. A dangerous instrument is one that is capable of causing serious bodily injury, including a wrench, motor vehicle, slab of wood or tool used to strike another person.
In Ware v. Alabama, the defendant was convicted of first-degree rape, burglary and robbery. As a habitual offender, he was sentenced to three sentences of life imprisonment. His case was appealed based on his 6th Amendment right to confront witnesses when admitting a DNA-profile report based on lab techs who did not testify in court. His second matter of appeal involved the trial courts error for denying his appeal on robbery and burglary charges because there was not enough evidence to prove that he was armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. The Supreme Court reversed the case on the issue of assault with a deadly weapon.
In Ware v. Alabama, the victim alleged that the defendant had a knife or other sharp object, but the “deadly weapon” was never identified or found at the scene. Any defendant accused of using a deadly weapon should have their case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Penalties for first-degree assault with a deadly weapon could include incarceration for not less than ten years, fines, probation, and community status. These fines will be increased if defendant has a habitual offender status. An experienced attorney can review the facts and determine whether the allegations and evidence do meet the statutory requirements for this serious offense.