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June 13, 2019

What Is a Deadly Weapon?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

May 20, 2019

When you're charged with a crime in Florida, the state may attempt to attach a deadly weapon finding to your crime. This is important because it can raise your sentencing requirements, make it more difficult to get parole, and in some cases, keep you from getting probation.

With this in mind, it is important to know what constitutes a deadly weapon in the state of Florida. While you might think this is a straightforward process, it's often not. Thankfully, we’re here to explain the realities of deadly weapon determination.

Common Deadly Weapons

Firearms are, by their very nature, deadly. Because they can produce death or great bodily injury by design, they are almost always considered deadly weapons. Where things get a bit more difficult is with knives. Most knives can be considered deadly weapons; however, it depends on the type of knife, how it was used, and whether it was meant to cause harm. In general, the bigger the knife, the more likely it is that a jury will call it a deadly weapon.


One area where deadly weapon law has developed over the last few years is in regard to vehicles. Some courts have taken to calling vehicles deadly weapons depending on their manner of use.

For instance, in some drunk driving cases where a person killed a pedestrian, vehicles have been deemed deadly weapons, raising the offense and penalty levels. While this is not universal, it is an emerging trend to be aware of.

Manner of Use

Intended use is an important aspect of deadly weapon determination. Depending on the case, a jury or judge will determine if something is a deadly weapon. When they make this determination, they operate on the legal definition of manner of use.

The judge will advise a jury that something is a deadly weapon if it is used or intended to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily injury. This is obviously a broad standard that can be interpreted in many ways. Great lawyers can argue against a deadly weapon finding given the facts of a case.

If you need representation for your case, call (954) 840-8713 now for an immediate consultation!