Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Alaska

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In Alaska, assault is a forceful act that causes the victim to fear that harm will result. An assault can also be simply the threat of force. The definition includes situations where a person knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person. In the case of assault with a deadly weapon, this includes the use of a weapon or some other object that can deliver injury.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Alaska

When an assault occurs and the defendant is using a deadly weapon to commit assault, it is referred to as “aggravated assault.” Alaska defines deadly weapons as “any firearm, or anything designed for and capable of causing death or serious physical injury, including a knife, an axe, a club, metal knuckles, or an explosive.” Due to the more serious nature of aggravated assault, punishments connected to aggravated assault are more severe than simple assaults. Note that injury is not a necessary component of an aggravated assault or an assault with a deadly weapon.

(Alaska Code §§ 11.41.200, 11.41.210, 11.41.220, 12.55.155, 11.81.900.)

Felony Charges

In Alaska, assault is considered assault in the first degree when a person:

  • recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a dangerous instrument, or
  • recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by repeated assaults using a dangerous instrument, even if each assault individually does not cause serious physical injury.

Alaska defines dangerous instruments as “any deadly weapon or anything that, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.” This includes hands and other objects used to choke or suffocate another person. First degree assault is considered a Class A felony.

(Alaska Code §§ 11.41.200, 11.81.900.)

Assault in the second degree occurs when a person acts “with the intent to cause physical injury to another person, [and] that person causes physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument.” Second degree assault is considered a Class B felony.

(Alaska Code §§ 11.41.210, 11.81.900.)

Assault in the third degree occurs when a person recklessly:

  • places another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument
  • causes physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument, or
  • with criminal negligence, causes physical injury that creates serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body member or organ, or that unlawfully terminates a pregnancy.

Third degree assault is considered a Class C felony.

(Alaska Code §§ 11.41.220, 11.81.900.)

Penalties and Criminal Charges

The chart below illustrates how assault crimes are punished in Alaska, with comparisons to selected other felonies.

Felony Class

Criminal Charges

Penalties

Class A Felony

Manslaughter (Alaska Code § 11.41.120.)

Armed Robbery (Alaska Code § 11.41.500.)

Aggravated Assault (Alaska Code § 11.41.200.)

Up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

(Alaska Stat. §§ 12.55.035, 12.55.125.)

Class B Felony

Robbery (Alaska Code § 11.41.510.)

Burglary (Alaska Code § 11.46.300.)

Assault (Alaska Code § 11.41.210.)

Up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

(Alaska Stat. §§ 12.55.035, 12.55.125.)

Class C Felony

Assault (Alaska Code § 11.41.220.)

Usually up to 5 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

(Alaska Stat. §§ 12.55.035, 12.55.125.)

Plea Options

When charged with assault with a deadly weapon, the defendant has the option of pleading guilty, nolo contendere (no contest), or not guilty. Not guilty pleas bring the case into line for a trial. If the defendant enters a guilty plea, the judge will determine the sentence for the crime, which depends on the circumstances and prior history of the defendant. Pleading nolo contendere allows the defendant to not contest the charges against him, but the case will still proceed through court, and will end with a not-guilty or guilty determination.

Get Legal Advice

Depending upon the circumstances and seriousness of the crime, a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon can result in serious prison time (up to 20 years), as well as fines, parole, probation, and the loss of rights and the ability to be employed in certain sectors of the workplace. It is best to speak with an experienced attorney who fully understands the law and will see you through the legal hurdles.

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