A dangerous weapon, sometimes referred to as a deadly weapon, is generally defined by courts as any object which can cause bodily harm or is wielded with the intent to harm or kill. Most jurisdictions have laws which minutely list what is considered a deadly weapon. For example, a defendant may be convicted of wielding a deadly weapon in cases of negligence, where harm is caused accidentally through irresponsible behavior. Individuals can also be charged in certain regions for merely for possessing a dangerous weapon without a permit.
Most jurisdictions have an exhaustive list of what items are considered to be a dangerous weapon. These lists include the usual suspects, such as firearms and knives, but often also include more obscure objects, such as cane swords and Kung Fu stars. It’s also common for regional laws to include provisions that allow a typically innocent object to be considered a deadly weapon if used with the intent to harm. Therefore, even though a car may not be specifically cited within a legal list of deadly weapons, it could be considered one if used with the intent to harm or kill.
Individuals carrying dangerous weapons are often required to have a permit or license that legally allows them to do so. If an individual is caught carrying a firearm without a permit, he or she may face charges for illegally carrying a dangerous weapon. Depending upon the region and the court system, these charges may amount to more than just a slap on the wrist; individuals have been fined as well as served prison time for this offense.
It isn't always necessary for a person to intend harm to be charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. In cases in which a person's accidental actions are deemed negligent, it can be considered reckless assault with a dangerous weapon. These can be difficult cases because a substantial argument has to be made that the defendant could have or did foresee that his or her actions could harm another person. For example, if a golfer tees off and the ball accidentally strikes someone, it may be difficult to charge someone with reckless assault, considering that such danger is inherent when stepping onto a golf course. If a golfer throws a golf club in anger after a bad shot, however, and accidentally strikes someone in the process, then charges of negligence and reckless assault may well apply, with the golf club being listed as a dangerous weapon.