Allegations that a person has committed certain crimes with a “deadly weapon” are serious legal matters. Even carrying a “deadly weapon” in a school zone or on a university’s campus may be enough to trigger an arrest and criminal prosecution. Such laws are meant to dissuade and prevent people from carrying firearms and knives in certain places, and more harshly penalize those who use such instruments with the intention to commit crimes. However, knives and guns are not the only items that can trigger the criminal penalties reserved for “deadly weapons.”
Ohio’s Definition of a “Deadly Weapon”
When determining if someone illegally possessed or carried a “deadly weapon,” a court will consider the definition of a deadly weapon. That definition is found in Ohio Revised Code 2923.11(A): “‘Deadly weapon’ means any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.” (Emphasis added.) The definition of “deadly weapon,” therefore, includes things like guns and swords but could also include a baseball bat modified with shards of glass or nails embedded in it.
In determining whether some object is a “deadly weapon,” there must be evidence that the object is designed or adapted for use as a weapon, or that the individual is possessing, carrying, or using the object as a weapon. In addition, the weapon must be capable of killing another person. Even objects like a hammer or pipe wrench could conceivably inflict a fatal blow on a person, but this does not necessarily mean they are “deadly weapons.” Items that typically inflict bruises or broken bones may not qualify as “deadly weapons.”
Ohio Crimes Involving Deadly Weapons
A person who carries or possesses a deadly weapon in certain settings may commit a crime. For example, attempting to carry a deadly weapon into a school safety zone (ORC 2923.122) or into a courthouse (ORC 2923.123) are both criminal acts. Depending on the circumstances, including what type of deadly weapon is involved, the offense may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Conveying a deadly weapon into a school zone may be guilty of a fifth-degree felony and face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Carrying a deadly weapon into a courthouse can be a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, if the person has a previous conviction for that offense.
Defenses to an Ohio Carrying or Possessing a Deadly Weapon Charge
Even though the penalties for possessing a deadly weapon – including a firearm – in a school safety zone or a courthouse are serious offenses, those charged with these crimes may have defenses that a skilled Columbus weapons charges attorney can exploit. For instance:
- The item in question may not be considered a “deadly weapon”
- The person found in possession of a firearm in a school zone may have a concealed carry license and have kept the firearm in their locked vehicle
- A deadly weapon found in an individual’s car may belong to another person who left it there without the individual’s knowledge
Individuals facing weapons charges should discuss their cases with their Ohio defense attorney quickly to formulate and set in motion a defense strategy designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
Learn More by Contacting Dawes Legal, LLC
Dawes Legal, LLC has years of experience in helping Ohio residents charged with weapons violations avoid the harsh penalties and consequences of a conviction. Our attorneys look at the details of each client’s case and develop an individualized approach that seeks to achieve a client’s objectives as efficiently as possible. Set up a case consultation with us by calling (614) 733-9999 today.