Why is the Type of Weapon Used in a Crime Important?
When you’re charged with a crime like assault or theft, it’s incredibly important to know if the authorities believe you used a weapon as well. A weapon can drastically increase the severity of your charge, bail, the leeway the judge and jury will give to your case, and the punishment you receive if you are found guilty. It’s important to have a criminal defense attorney to make sure your charges are as accurate as they should be to help prove your innocence. The wrong weapon charge can represent an inaccurate criminal intent.
It helps your case to prove that the charges aren’t accurate, fair, and/or consistent with the crime report or witness testimony. This makes it important for you to contact a criminal defense attorney from Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam as soon as you are charged.
The Importance of the Weapon
The reason a weapon is so important to a crime is that it shows a criminal’s intention and capability. Even if the crime isn’t carried out, the kind of weapon someone has when they’re caught shows what kind of damage they were willing to inflict to complete the crime.
Multiple types of weapons are commonly used in crimes like assault, theft, arson, and more, but they color a judge and jury’s perception of you before the case has begun because of the criminal intent they show.
What Does Each Type of Weapon Mean for Intent?
When talking about the criminal intent these weapons symbolize, we’ll avoid talking about homicide charges. Homicide carries such grave consequences that the use of a weapon rarely matters. It becomes more about the circumstances and brutality of the murders. You are already facing life in prison if you are found guilty of homicide.
The most common weapons used in crimes are categorized by groups. Each of them is more common in certain crimes than others and include a range of different weapons. These include:
- Handguns: These are a class of small firearms that can be easily carried and hidden on someone’s person. While designed for self-defense, they are also designed to kill whoever someone needs to defend themselves from. If you are charged for using these in a crime, you are being charged for having the intent –or at least the willingness– to murder someone. No court looks friendly on that. Due to the killing ability of a handgun, the prosecution can even make the argument that you had the criminal intent to kill or threaten to kill multiple people.
- Knives or cutting instruments: While not all knives and cutting instruments are made equal, they can be used to stab someone. In many circumstances, if someone is stabbed, they will eventually die without medical intervention. This means that being charged with a crime while having or using a knife or cutting instruments often shows criminal intent to murder. Knives and cutting instruments are not considered weapons of mass killing, unlike handguns. While some courtrooms may consider it, it’s not common that your perceived criminal intent was to threaten mass murder with a knife.
- Hands/fists/feet: Using your limbs to physically harm or threaten someone during a crime isn’t labeled as using a weapon. Statistics record it as one, but in a court of law, you would be considered unarmed. Using nothing but your limbs enables your attorneys to show that you didn’t have criminal intent to murder or maim someone.
- Blunt objects: These weapons would include hammers, clubs, or any other non-piercing solid weapon. While many blunt weapons are capable of killing or maiming someone, there is plausible deniability in intention. Blunt weapons are commonly considered to be incapacitating unless you are believed to have targeted areas of the body that could lead to a victim’s death, like their skull.
How Can a Weapon Affect Your Case?
Weapons show surface-level criminal intent, which only helps the prosecution build a case against you. It’s not a leap in logic to believe that someone who brings a gun or a knife to a robbery is willing to use them. It’s not a leap either to believe that if they are willing to use a gun or a knife in a robbery, they’re willing to kill someone. This is the line of thinking a prosecutor can use to prove you’re guilty and deserve the maximum punishment. This makes it an uphill battle to defend yourself and make sure you’re treated fairly.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at MVSK Law
If you’re being charged with the use of a deadly weapon in a crime, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney. The first thing we want to do is work to lower the charge so you’re not facing a weapon charge on top of the original criminal charge. We don’t want to give the prosecution team the chance to make you appear unsympathetic or dangerous.
The more time we have, the better your defense will be. Contact our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.