If you’re currently involved in a criminal case and are trying to defend yourself against allegations of intentionally hitting someone with your vehicle, you may hear people mention the use of a deadly weapon. That may be confusing, especially if no guns or other weapons were involved in your case.
The reality is that a deadly weapon can be anything with the potential to cause serious harm and death, and a vehicle falls into that category. According to the definition of a deadly weapon from Merriam-Webster, a deadly weapon is any object whose purpose is to cause death. Alternatively, a deadly weapon may be an instrument of offense that is capable of causing death or serious harm.
It’s most common to see guns held as deadly weapons whether they are or are not loaded. In New Jersey, deadly weapon can mean any firearm. It may also mean any material, substance, weapon, device, or instrument, animate or inanimate, which is capable of producing serious bodily injury or death.
Should your vehicle be considered as a deadly weapon?
By looking at the definitions, most people would agree that a car could cause serious injuries or death, so it could be a deadly weapon. That being said, hitting someone with your vehicle accidentally is very different from using a firearm to harm someone.
Usually, cases involving vehicles as deadly weapons are limited to times when people are accused of intentionally hitting or attempting to hit others.
What should you do if you’re accused of using a deadly weapon against someone?
It’s never a good thing to face accusations of using a deadly weapon to threaten or harm someone else. If you are accused of attempting to hit someone with your vehicle, it would be in your best interests to be able to show that you had no malicious intent prior to a car accident through the development of a strong defense. It may be difficult to prove this unless you have a dash cam or witnesses to speak on your behalf, but it is worth going over your options to protect your rights.