Tahlequah Attorney BlogWhat’s the Difference Between a Dangerous Weapon and a Deadly Weapon?

The Big Difference Is Punishment

Video Transcribed:  What’s the difference between a dangerous weapon and a deadly weapon? Well, about life. Hi, my name is Ryan Cannonie, I’m a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer with Wirth Law Office here in Tahlequah.

And a lot of times people ask the difference in charges between assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Now, for this video, I’m only talking about state charges, I’m not talking about tribal or anything in a federal context. So, just the State of Oklahoma charges.

So, as I kind of alluded to in the first part, the big difference is punishment. So, an assault and battery with a deadly weapon, depending on the type of situation because it could be two to life or it could just be zero to life. But the important part is in there, life. You can be looking at up to life in prison on those. On a dangerous weapon, the max you’re going to do is about 10 years, which is still nothing to really laugh at.

But when it comes down to it, what’s the difference? What makes something deadly versus something dangerous? Well, when you look at the actual jury instructions and kind of the definitions behind this, a dangerous weapon is anything sharp or dangerous, which doesn’t really help you too much. And that’s been true all throughout case law. There are all types of cases where it’s been appealed with, “Was this a dangerous weapon or not?” I think there’s even one that talks about shoes, whether or not they were considered dangerous weapons?

But anything like a knife or like a baseball bat, anything that you can use to, and these situations you do or are alleged to have done used, to hurt someone, to physically harm them in a way beyond just your normal assault and battery.

If you’re beating someone with a baseball bat that can be considered a dangerous weapon, if you stab someone that is a dangerous weapon. Now, dangerous weapons can quite literally just be about anything. It’s all about how the weapon is used. And I say, weapon, or how the object is used as a weapon. So, there there’s a lot of case law out there that basically says, there’s no list. There’s no list of these are dangerous weapons, these are not. It’s just how you use it.

Now, deadly weapons, on the other hand, have to be able to actually kill someone. So, a knife can be a deadly weapon if that’s how it’s being used. A firearm is intrinsically a deadly weapon if it’s capable of killing someone.

If you’re talking baseball bat, you got the old warriors movie with the baseball bats with the nail sticking out of them or razor blades all over them that could easily qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it would be used.

So, when you’re looking at these charges, it’s important to remember that there’s some fluidity with what the definition is. Dangerous, pretty broad, just how it’s used. Deadly, it still has to be able to cause death.

Now, if you get charged with assault and battery with a deadly, assault and battery with a dangerous is considered a lesser included of that. That means that if you could kill someone with the weapon, then it’s clearly dangerous. So, they could stack them.

So, they could ask for one or the other when you go to trial. Or you or your attorney could ask for the dangerous, so that if a jury finds that it was dangerous, but not deadly, then they could, if they found you guilty, sentence you to that. And so, you’re only looking at 10 years rather than life.

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