Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Issues to Consider When Facing Massachusetts Deadly Weapon Charges

A man was charged in March 2020 with allegedly stabbing two people inside the Bell in Hand Tavern in downtown Boston. Boston law enforcement promptly responded to the call at the historic bar and arrested the suspect, while Boston emergency medical workers transported both victims to a nearby medical facility with non-life-threatening injuries. 

When law enforcement arrived at the tavern they discovered that two men were stabbed and that staff security members were attempting to restrain the suspect on the main floor close to the bar. Law enforcement noticed the suspect violently struggling while two victims lay on the ground receiving care from other staff members. The suspect was later charged with two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, simple assault and battery, and resisting arrest and threats. 

If you are charged with a deadly weapon offense in Massachusetts, you can end up facing some severe consequences. Not only do people often receive jail time and penalties, but deadly weapon charges can also have other repercussions that can significantly disrupt a person’s life. The following reviews some critical points to understand about the nature of deadly weapon charges in Massachusetts.

Properly Inform Law Enforcement You Have a Weapon

To avoid an undesirable situation, there are some important details that you should remember in disclosing to law enforcement that you have a knife, gun, or another deadly weapon. After directly telling the police you have a weapon, law enforcement will respond in one of several ways. Often, law enforcement will remove the weapon for both your safety as well as the officer’s well-being. If the officer requests to remove the firearm, you should ask how you should hand over the weapon. If the officer gives you instructions about how to give up the weapon, you should repeat them back and narrate your actions as you proceed slowly. If the officer says anything that does not make sense, you should stop and ask for clarification. 

Massachusetts Deadly Weapon Laws Carry Harsh Penalties

Massachusetts law states that carrying a dangerous weapon on your person or vehicle is punishable by six months to two and a half years in jail. MGL c. 269 s. 10(b) states that a deadly weapon includes various types of knives as well as blowguns, metallic knuckles, and a wide range of other instruments that can be used to harm people. If a person has previously been convicted of carrying a firearm or other deadly weapon once or several times, this statute contains elevated penalties. It is a safe bet that if you can physically harm someone with the object you are holding, law enforcement and prosecution will likely find that it constitutes a deadly weapon.

Defenses to Deadly Weapon Charges

While convictions for deadly weapon offenses carry serious penalties, defenses exist to respond to these charges. Part of the reason so many defenses exist to these charges is that several elements must be established for a conviction to be made. Some of the most common defenses raised in response to deadly weapon charges include:

  • A person cannot be charged with a deadly weapon offense if that individual did not actually have a deadly weapon.

  • You might have only been using the deadly weapon to act in self-defense or to protect another.

  • You may not have acted intentionally or willfully. For example, you might have been coerced to act in a certain way by a kidnapper or someone else was exerting control over you.

  • Unfortunately, sometimes people are accused of crimes they did not actually commit. If you are the victim of mistaken identity and can draw such identification into question, you will likely be able to defend against a deadly weapon charge.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Massachusetts, one of the best steps that you can take afterward is to promptly contact a compassionate defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.