Talk with a Highly Qualified Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charge
If you or a loved one faces charges in Nebraska of assault with a deadly weapon, you probably understand that these are very serious. You may have many questions about what an assault with a deadly weapon means and what are the possible punishments.
You should seek the advice of a highly experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated Nebraska assault defense attorney to get the answers you need.
What Is Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Nebraska?
Assault with a deadly weapon is the act of threatening or injuring someone with a deadly weapon. Therefore, it is important to know the definition of a deadly weapon in Nebraska.
Nebraska law defines the term “deadly weapon” explicitly. Under Nebraska law, a deadly weapon is a:
- Bludgeon, or
- Any other device, instrument, material, or substance that could kill or inflict serious bodily injury as used.
A baseball bat is a good example of how an everyday type of object could be a deadly weapon under Nebraska law. A baseball bat is simply a piece of sporting equipment.
However, a baseball bat is a deadly weapon in Nebraska when someone swings at another’s head with the intent to injure the other person. Steel-toed boots are another example of an everyday object that is not inherently dangerous but could be used as a deadly weapon if you kicked a person while wearing a pair.
What Is Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Nebraska separates felony assault with a deadly weapon into two degrees. Both crimes are felonies. The sentence for assault with a deadly weapon depends on the severity of the crime and whether the alleged victim sustained a serious bodily injury.
Nebraska criminal law defines first-degree assault as knowingly or intentionally causing serious bodily injury to another. Serious bodily injury is injury that is likely to cause death, permanent disfigurement, or impairment to the function of any bodily organ.
The prosecution has the burden of proving the element of serious bodily injury beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the prosecution does not have to prove that the person committed the assault with the intent to cause a serious bodily injury. Nebraska law only requires the person to have knowingly or intentionally committed the act.
First-degree assault in Nebraska is a Class II felony. A person could serve between one and 50 years behind bars for a Class II felony conviction.
Second-degree assault in Nebraska is a Class IIA felony. The maximum penalty in Nebraska for a Class IIA felony is 20 years in prison.
A person is guilty of second-degree assault in Nebraska by either:
- Intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury with a dangerous instrument;
- Recklessly causing serious bodily injury with a dangerous instrument; or
- Striking or wounding another person while confined to a penal institution, in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services, or while committed under the Sex Offender Commitment Act.
The term dangerous instrument encompasses the phrase deadly weapon in Nebraska law.
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
A person charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Nebraska faces stiffer penalties because of an aggravating factor or factors. Aggravating factors refer to a characteristic of the alleged victim that makes that person a vulnerable target.
Nebraska law requires a judge to impose a stiffer sentence if a person commits a first-degree or second-degree assault because of a person’s color, sexual preference, gender, nationality, age, creed, ancestry, or disability.
The aggravating factors increase the severity of the crime of a Class IB felony. The sentence of assault with a deadly weapon with aggravating factors is 20 years up to life in prison.
Pregnancy is also an aggravating factor. Nebraska law indicates that a judge must impose the next higher level of penalty for first- and second-degree assault of a pregnant woman. In those circumstances, a first-degree assault shall be punished as a Class ID felony. A Class ID felony carries a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of 50 years. Similarly, a judge must sentence a person to one to 50 years for a second-degree assault committed against a pregnant woman.
Furthermore, committing an assault on an officer or other emergency personnel during the course of their duties is a Class ID felony if serious bodily injury results.
Knife Laws in Nebraska
Nebraska law considers knives to be deadly weapons. Nebraska defines the term “knife” broadly. In Nebraska, the term includes a knife, dagger, dirk, or stiletto with a blade longer than three and one-half inches that, as used or intended to be used, can kill or cause serious bodily injury. Also, Nebraska law defines a knife as an instrument capable of making cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds that could kill or cause serious bodily injury.
The definition of a knife is so broad that any instrument with a blade or edge can be a deadly weapon.
Nebraska law prohibits everyone from concealing knives on their person. Additionally, Nebraska law allows for the prosecution of a person who possesses a deadly weapon while committing a felony, including a knife.
Defending You and Your Rights
Contact Nebraska assault defense lawyer Thomas M. Petersen right away for help defending your assault with a deadly weapon charge in Nebraska. Get help today by calling Petersen Criminal Defense Law at 402-509-8070.
Tom Petersen is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Nebraska. He is well known and respected for his toughness, dedication to his clients, and keen sense of legal judgment. Nebraska defense attorney Tom Petersen offers a free case evaluation and 24-hour help getting you released from jail. He knows what is at risk for people facing a conviction and sentence for assault with a deadly weapon. Tom will develop a defense strategy individually tailored to meet your needs.