A gun, a pillow and a hammer can all be used to injure or kill someone, but does this mean that these items and others with the potential to cause harm are considered weapons under Colorado law?
The Legal Definition of a “Weapon”
In Colorado, a weapon can fall under two categories. One is a firearm, loaded or unloaded. The second is broader, including knives, bludgeons and any other substance, device or material that in its intended use–or in the way that it’s used in the alleged crime–could produce serious harm to someone or result in death.
While a firearm has an immediate status of a deadly weapon whether it has bullets in it at the time or not, the weapon status of other items depends on how they are used. A knife isn’t a deadly weapon when you are using it to cut tomatoes, but it can be one if you harmed someone with it or tried to harm someone with it.
The manner of use is what largely makes something a weapon in Colorado, and under this definition, just about anything can become a weapon in the right situation. For example, if a person tries to smother another person with a pillow, it can certainly be argued that the pillow became a weapon in this particular instance. Other common items that may be considered a deadly weapon include baseball bats, rat poison and other household chemicals, belts and cooking knives.
However, keep in mind that none of these non-firearm items are automatically considered a deadly weapon under state law just because they were in your hand or nearby when the incident took place. The circumstances of your case, the arguments of the prosecution, and the defense used by your criminal lawyer in Denver, CO will impact the weapon status of any object involved in what happened.
Deadly Weapons Increase Your Potential Penalties
When an item is identified as a “deadly weapon” legally, it can have a serious impact on your case. An assault or robbery charge, for example, can become aggravated if there is a deadly weapon attached to them. An aggravated charge means that the act was more serious than the charge implied on its basic level, and this means the court can hand down a stiffer penalty in terms of fines, jail time and other consequences of conviction. Fines, jail time, probation and other consequences of being convicted of a crime will have a lasting impact on your financial and personal life.
Because the deadly weapon labeling of an item connected to your incident could mean you will be facing much more severe consequences, it is a wise move to contact an experienced criminal lawyer in Denver, CO if you are facing any charge with an item the state could try to say is a weapon. Your attorney will be able to give you a realistic outlook of your case and work to determine how to challenge the weapon status of any items in your case.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and weapons in Colorado.