Police officers and prosecutors take assault with a deadly weapon very seriously, and so should you. Legal terms like “dangerous instrument” are often left with vague descriptions that allow prosecutors to strike down with harsher penalties than what is necessary. If you or someone you know has recently been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, be sure that you have a dedicated defense attorney on your side to help you through the trial process. A confident Omaha assault with a deadly weapon lawyer on our team stands ready to help you fight these allegations.
Deadly Weapon Definition
A “deadly weapon” in Omaha can be vague and doesn’t have a clear definition. Technically, anything can be a deadly weapon, it just depends on how a person uses the object in an assault case. A harmless rock on the side of the road is nothing more than a rock; it only becomes a deadly weapon when someone picks it up and tries to hurt another person with it.
Assault with a deadly weapon should not be confused with possession of a deadly weapon. Possession of a deadly weapon applies to people who should not have knives, guns, or brass knuckles. Only when they are used violently does an assault with a deadly weapon charge come into play.
There are three degrees of assault in Nebraska:
First-degree assault is the most severe. Someone would be charged with first-degree assault for intentionally or knowingly causing serious physical harm to another person, according to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-308. An assault with a deadly weapon can be categorized as a first-degree assault by the prosecution. Additionally, the penalties for first-degree assault are the most severe, a Class II felony.
Second-degree assault is just below first-degree assault and occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly hurts another person with a dangerous instrument, under Neb Rev Stat §28-309. The main difference between first- and second-degree is the word “serious.” Second-degree assault is less severe and is classified as a Class IIA felony.
Third-degree assault is the least severe type of assault and is characterized by Neb Rev Stat §28-310 as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly harming another person. The words “serious” and “dangerous instrument” are intentionally left out. A third-degree assault conviction will get someone a Class I misdemeanor.
An Omaha assault with a deadly weapon attorney on our team can help explain the different degrees of assault and how they may impact your case.
Assault Charges in Trial
In the American criminal justice system, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means the person accused of the crime does not have to prove they are innocent, rather the accuser, normally the government, must find evidence that the defendant did commit the crime.
The prosecution also decides which category of assault to put the crime under; first-, second-, or third-degree. A seasoned defense attorney can explain why their client does not deserve the harsher sentence and significantly reduce a potential jail sentence or fine.
Call an Omaha Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Omaha, be sure you hire the right lawyer. Our team at Berry Law has been representing clients in the Omaha area for years and has built a reputation for giving our clients the representation they deserve. Call our firm today to speak with an Omaha assault with a deadly weapon lawyer on our team.