The crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a very serious one, which can carry a penalty of up to ten years in prison, as well as a significant fine. It's important to note that in these circumstances the term "dangerous weapon" can be used to refer to a variety of broad-spectrum items, which might range from a knife, to a drink thrown in someone's face. In any case, the circumstances and facts will need to be carefully investigated to determine whether or not the item used can be classified as a dangerous weapon.
In many of these cases, the prosecution will rely largely upon the testimony of the alleged victim, and if the victim cannot testify on the day of the trial, the trial may be dismissed entirely. However, if the prosecution believes that the case is strong enough without the testimony of an alleged victim, it may proceed with the testimony of other witnesses, and additional evidence. In the state of Massachusetts, three things are required to prove assault and battery with a dangerous weapon: the accused touched the alleged victim, the accused intended to touch the alleged victim, and a dangerous weapon was used in the touching.
Examples of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon
As mentioned above, assault and battery using a dangerous weapon can be a very broad crime with a lot of definitions. For instance, this crime may occur when someone acts with the specific intent to cause physical harm to another person using a weapon that is dangerous in the circumstances in question.
An object can be defined as a deadly or dangerous weapon if it has been designed or used to inflict a life-threatening or significant bodily injury against another person, or it is used in a manner that might lead to such an injury. Knives and firearms are generally deadly weapons by definition, while steel toed boots and large rocks can also be deadly weapons when used in the right circumstances.
Usually, in order to be classed as deadly or dangerous, the object in question must possess the capability to cause broken bones, physical disfigurement, serious injury, or loss of function in some part of the body or death. At the same time, for someone to be charged with assault and battery using a dangerous weapon, the intent must be present to inflict an injury that is more than simply minor. In some cases, even a vehicle, a dog, or an item that the defendant is aware the victim is allergic to can be considered as a dangerous or deadly weapon.
Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon Punishment
As with many crimes involving assault and battery, assault and battery with a deadly or dangerous weapon is generally punishable by between one and ten years in prison, and a fine that can reach up to a significant amount depending on the degree of damage done to the victim. Subsequent or second offenses in this area are generally punishable with higher fines and longer periods in prison. If people are convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon more than once, then chances are that they will lose the right to be released early, or become eligible for probation or parole before the minimum sentence has been served.
There are many different factors that can impact the level of severity with which a crime of assault and battery with a deadly weapon is punished. For example, if the victim is a child under the age of fourteen, pregnant, or an individual who has previous obtained a restraining order to be used against the defendant, or if the victim has been exposed to significant bodily harm, then the length of time the convicted individual may spend in prison can rise to fifteen years, while the fine can extend up to $10,000. On the other hand, if the victim in question is sixty years old or older, assault and battery using a dangerous weapon can lead to up to ten years in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000, while subsequent offenses are punishable by a minimum of up to two years in prison.
Another important factor that can come into place in cases of assault or battery with a dangerous weapon, refers to the kind of weapon that is used in the crime. For instance, assault with a hypodermic needle can be punishable by up to ten to fifteen years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. Assault or battery with a dangerous weapon conducted with the intent to commit a felony may be punishable by ten years to life in prison, and the defendant will be required to serve a minimum of at least five years of his or her sentence. If the weapon used in the assault or battery is a firearm, then the crime will be punishable with a minimum of at least ten years served.
Finally, in Massachusetts, assault or battery that is conducted with the use of a dangerous weapon with the intent to rob or kill another person is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Once again, it is worth noting in this case that if the weapon used is a firearm, such as a rifle, a machine gun, a shotgun, or an assault weapon, then the assault will be punishable by five to twenty years in prison. However, the minimum sentence becomes ten years when the victim is aged 60 or older.
Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon Defenses
The crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon can lead to very serious charges in states all across America, regardless of the circumstances behind the particular issue. If you are facing this charge, as with many other crime charges throughout the United States justice system, it is possible to defend yourself with the assistance of an experienced lawyer, or attempt to prove that you have been wrongfully charged with a crime that you had no hand in.
In some cases, an attorney may be able to even negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf that suggests that you were not in your right mind when the assault or battery took place. Alternatively, another possible defense is to suggest that you have been falsely accused. Here, the lawyer will represent you at a trial to prove that the evidence that is being used against you is incorrect, or has been regarded falsely.
Even if you were guilty of a crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, it is worth noting that in some cases litigators may be able to negotiate and agree to settle for a lighter sentence issued by the court in exchange for you admitting to your crimes with a guilty plea to a less serious crime.
What to Do If You've Been Charged
It's important to understand that the charge and conviction of a felony of aggravated assault and battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is very serious. This charge can become a part of your permanent record, and therefore have an impact on your life forever. Not only does a convicted felon lose the right to vote, serve as a juror, and hold public office, but he or she may lose the right to carry firearms in the future too. In certain circumstances, you might even find that a conviction will cause you to lose your professional license for good. Because of this, it's important to seek out professional legal help as early as possible, so that you can begin to build a defense against the charges against you.