Can a Dog Be a Weapon?
Dog bites and attacks can turn into complicated legal issues if someone argues they’ve been seriously hurt.
In the state of New Jersey, a dog may be classified as a deadly weapon for the purposes of a criminal or civil case involving injuries. Aggressive dogs can be very hazardous. Recent judicial findings indicate a trend for officers of the court to view dogs as every bit as dangerous as knives and guns. Committing any crime with a deadly or dangerous weapon could be classified as an aggravating circumstance which could earn a convicted defendant a longer sentence and more serious fines. Typically, deadly weapons are considered guns and knives, however, a dog could constitute a dangerous weapon if it has been ordered to attack or has left people with severe injuries. The court is much more likely to classify a dog as a deadly weapon if the dog inflicts critical harm. If the dog was simply used to threaten a victim, then the prosecution usually has to prove that the hound was capable of killing someone or seriously injuring another person. Courts will often evaluate various pieces of evidence to determine whether or not a dog could be categorized as a deadly or dangerous weapon. This includes:
The dog’s size.
The dog’s breed.
Whether or not the dog had been trained.
Any injuries sustained by the victim.
Any commands that the defendant ordered the dog.
The size of the victim.
If you have been charged with assault or any other crime and believe that the other side is going to argue that your dog was used as a deadly weapon, you need to get eyewitnesses and other evidence organized as soon as possible to fight back in court. Your future may depend on your ability to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in New Jersey.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.