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How South Dakota Defines a “Dangerous Weapon” in Assault Charges

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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The use of a “dangerous weapon” in an assault usually means that the accused is charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, but the distinction isn’t always obvious. South Dakota uses a broad definition of “dangerous weapons” in assault cases, and that definition includes more than just the obvious.

Examples of Objects the Law Might Define as a “Dangerous Weapon”

Under South Dakota law, the definition of a “dangerous weapon” includes obvious weapons, such as:

  • A gun
  • A knife

This also includes objects that aren’t normally used as weapons, but could obviously be used as a weapon, such as:

  • A baseball bat
  • A crowbar

However, depending on the circumstances, a much wider range of objects could be considered a dangerous weapon under the law, including just about any object that could even potentially be used to hurt someone. This could include any number of objects, including everyday items like:

  • A rock
  • A beer bottle
  • A pair of nail scissors
  • A butter knife

However, although you may not normally think of these objects as “weapons,” they can all turn a misdemeanor charge into a felony if someone is hurt or the victim feels threatened. And, for many people accused of assault, the question of whether or not a “dangerous weapon” was used can be a big part of their defense and the eventual outcome of the charges against them.

If you need help after you’ve been accused of a crime, don’t wait any longer to get help. Our Sioux Falls and Parker legal teams are standing by with answers to your questions, and we hope we can help you get the best outcome in your case and join the community of our satisfied clients


Category: Criminal Defense


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