blog Criminal Defense How Do Prosecutors Decide Whether Something Is a “Deadly Weapon”?

How Do Prosecutors Decide Whether Something Is a “Deadly Weapon”?

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on June 30, 2023

In Colorado, a deadly weapon is defined as a knife, gun, or any object that could result in death or serious bodily injury to a person. That means it is possible for everyday objects, such as a brick or a pipe, to be considered a deadly weapon in a criminal case. It is important to keep this in mind since many crimes could carry more severe penalties if conducted with the use of a deadly weapon.

Defining Deadly Weapons in Colorado

All firearms are considered deadly weapons, regardless of if they are loaded or not, including:

  • Handguns, revolvers, and pistols
  • Long guns, short rifles, and short shotguns
  • Machine guns
  • Muzzleloaders

Pellet guns and BB guns, which are not firearms, are also considered deadly weapons since they could also cause serious bodily injury to others. Similarly, most knives are generally considered deadly weapons, including:

  • Daggers
  • Kitchen knives
  • Switchblades
  • Swords
  • Pocket knives
  • Blackjacks
  • Ceremonial knives
  • Hunting and fishing knives
  • Bowie knives

Crossbows, throwing stars, and explosives are also considered weapons. When used to cause bodily injury or death, even everyday objects, such as the following, could be considered deadly weapons:

  • Bricks
  • Icicles
  • Pipes
  • Belts
  • Broken glass
  • Rocks
  • Ropes
  • Any sharp or heavy object

Enhanced Penalties and Offenses

When people commit crimes while possessing, using, or threatening to use a deadly weapon, it results in an enhanced sentence in Colorado. For example, a robbery charge would involve force, intimidation, or threats to steal from another person. On the other hand, aggravated robbery involves the use of a weapon or pretending to use a weapon to steal from another person. Using, pretending to use, or causing bodily harm or death with a deadly weapon may substantially enhance sentencing.

In Colorado, if there is a deadly weapon enhancement in your case, the sentencing minimum is the median of the original sentence range if you had not used a deadly weapon. The maximum sentence is double the original maximum limit. For example, if the maximum sentence for a crime without a deadly weapon was five years, it would now be ten years.

Challenging Deadly Weapon Allegations

In Colorado, there are laws in place that allow self-defense. Under these circumstances, you may use physical force to defend yourself and others if:

  • You reasonably believe you or others could be harmed.
  • You use an appropriate degree of force.

Using deadly force is only allowed in appropriate circumstances. In all situations, you cannot be the aggressor. For example, if you witness someone being assaulted and step in by punching the offender, this could be an instance of self-defense.

There may also be some mitigating factors to consider when it comes to the sentencing of a case involving a deadly weapon, such as the absence of a criminal record, evidence of rehabilitation, and cooperation with the authorities. These factors have the potential to reduce the severity of a sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney will guide you through this process and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Breckenridge Violent Crime Attorney Today!

Hiring an experienced Breckenridge violent crime lawyer to handle your case is essential if you are facing charges involving a deadly weapon. At Whitaker & Penix, LLC, our Breckenridge criminal defense team could help you fight your charges or reduce your sentence. With more than a decade of combined experience on our side, you can feel confident in our ability to represent you. Reach out to us today at (970) 368-0602 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and get started on your case.

Posted in: Criminal Defense