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Washington Court Explains What May Be Considered a Deadly Weapon

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2019 | Assault

It is common knowledge that criminal defendants are afforded the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Each criminal charge has different elements that the state must prove in order to convict a defendant. If a defendant is convicted absent sufficient evidence, he or she may be able to have the conviction overturned.

Recently, a Washington appellate court reviewed the evidence needed to convict a defendant of assault with a deadly weapon, in State v. Solorazano. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to retain a Washington criminal defense attorney who will fight vigorously to help you retain your liberties.

Factual Allegations

Reportedly, police responded to reports of a domestic dispute at a mobile home. When they arrived, the police placed the defendant into custody. They spoke with his girlfriend, the alleged victim and her daughter, both of whom were panicked and scared. The police found a knife that had a seven inch blade, that they believed the defendant used in the altercation. Neither the girlfriend nor her daughter had any injuries. The defendant was charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon. During the trial, the State played the 911 call from the alleged incident, in which the defendant’s girlfriend’s daughter could be heard stating that the defendant had a knife and had placed his girlfriend in a headlock. The defendant was convicted as charged, after which he appealed.

Evidence Needed to Prove an Assault with a Deadly Weapon

The defendant argued that the State had insufficient evidence to prove that the knife was a deadly weapon or that he intended to assault his girlfriend. The court stated that assault is defined as an act taken with unlawful force with the intent to place another person in the fear of bodily injury. At the trial, the jury was instructed that a deadly weapon is any weapon or device which could be used to cause death or substantial bodily injury. In cases where the deadly weapon is not a gun or explosive, the state must show more than mere possession to prove the instrument is a deadly weapon. Specifically, the State must show an intent to use the instrument to cause harm. The court found that based on the evidence presented at trial, the jury reasonably could have found that the defendant’s girlfriend was placed in reasonable fear that the defendant was going to cause her bodily harm with the knife. Further, the court found the evidence was sufficient to show the defendant had a specific intent to assault his girlfriend. As such, the court affirmed the jury’s verdict.

Set up a Conference with an Experienced Washington Criminal Defense Attorney

It is important that anyone charged with the crime understand what evidence the State has and how it may be presented against him or her at trial. If you are facing criminal charges, you should set up a consultation with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and potential defenses to your charges. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith and White will work vigorously to help you set forth strong arguments in your defense. We can be reached at 253-363-8662 or through our online form to set up a meeting.