What happens if you are arrested with a dangerous weapon?
Under Massachusetts law, a defendant can be charged with carrying a dangerous weapon on his or her person, under his or her control in a vehicle, or when he or she was arrested on a warrant for a breach of the peace. “Whoever, when arrested upon warrant for an alleged crime, while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person or under his or her control in a vehicle a dangerous weapon…will be punished…”
In other words, a person arrested with a: 1) warrant while committing a breach; or 2) disturbance of the public peace AND is armed with or has under his or her control in a vehicle a dangerous weapon is committing a crime and will be punished. You always want to make sure that what appears to be a simple case does not have long term consequences. A subsequent offense for this crime can be very severe. It is important to fight these charges hard every time since a second offense could be catastrophic.
Also note that unlawfully carrying a firearm , possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest are separate criminal offense from carrying a dangerous weapon when arrested.
What must the government prove if you are arrested with a dangerous weapon?
In order to prove a defendant guilty of the crime of carrying a dangerous weapon when arrested, the Commonwealth must prove the following three elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Defendant arrested on a warrant OR arrested without a warrant for committing a breach of the peace
- That at the time or his or her arrest the defendant was:
- Armed with the alleged dangerous weapon
- Had the alleged dangerous weapon on his or her person
- Had the alleged weapon under his or her control in a vehicle
- That the defendant knew that he or she was carrying the alleged weapon on his or her person or under his or her control in a vehicle
- That the alleged weapon was a dangerous weapon
Note that a criminal complaint charging this statute that does NOT charge the first element of the offense, cannot proceed.
Also note that the statute is inapplicable to firearms, rifles, and shotguns.
What is a dangerous weapon?
A dangerous weapon is an item that, by its nature, is capable of causing serious injury or death.
An item is a dangerous weapon if used in a way that reasonably appears to be capable of causing serious injury or death to another person. In deciding whether an item is a dangerous weapon, jurors and the judge consider the circumstances of possession along with the nature, size, and shape of the item as well as the manner handled or controlled.
What other special weapons are considered dangerous?
The statute criminalizing carrying a dangerous weapon when arrested also names a “billy” or a “billyclub” as a dangerous weapon.
Straight knives are typically dangerous weapons while folding knives typically are NOT. Possession of a closed folding knife is a dangerous weapon if used making it a dangerous weapon.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH CARRYING A DANGEROUS WEAPON WHEN ARRESTED, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.