Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
Assault is an offense that is almost always charged in state court. However, there are exceptions to this rule, in which case a person faces federal penalties for a conviction. If you have been charged with either state or federal assault with a dangerous weapon, the advice of an experienced federal crimes attorney is critical to your chances of success.
Elements of the Offense
A person can only be convicted of this offense if he or she:
- Physically threatens, strikes, or wounds another person with a dangerous weapon; and
- Intends to inflict bodily harm on the victim.
There must also be evidence that the defendant used an object that qualifies as a dangerous weapon, which federal law defines as an instrument that is capable of inflicting death or serious bodily injury. However, even objects that are not capable of inflicting this type of injury can qualify as a dangerous weapon if:
- It closely resembles an instrument that could inflict injury; or
- The defendant used the object in a way that created the impression that the object in question was the type of instrument that could inflict serious harm.
The offense must also fall under federal jurisdiction before it can be tried in federal court. Federal jurisdiction generally exists when an offense occurred on government property or when the victim was a government employee who was on the job at the time of the alleged assault. Attacks against former government employees are also punishable in federal court if the assault was prompted by an official decision made by that individual during his or her tenure. Former judges, for instance, fall under this category if they are attacked because of a prior ruling. Federal courts also have jurisdiction over assault cases where the incident occurred during an attempt to steal government property, including mail. This is true regardless of whether the defendant knew that the property belonged to the U.S. government or that the victim was a government employee.
What are the Penalties for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon?
Those who are convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison. However, the penalties faced by a defendant may be higher because these types of crimes are often accompanied by other charges, such as using a firearm during the commission of a crime. The number of victims involved in the case, as well as the defendant’s criminal history could also play a role in the severity of a person’s sentence.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Miami Federal Crimes Attorney
Although it is always important to consult with an attorney after being charged with a crime, it is especially crucial when the charges involve a federal offense, as these kinds of cases have more severe penalties and are usually aggressively prosecuted. If you have been accused of assault or another federal offense, please contact a member of the dedicated Miami legal team at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling 305-670-9919 to learn more about available defenses.