In Utah, it is unlawful for a person to be Carrying a Dangerous Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Many people are not aware of this law and these charges can be more common that perhaps most people realize. Here, the question often becomes what is considered a dangerous weapon. All firearms are clearly within this definition. With that being said, what if you are carrying a gun which is not loaded; is it a dangerous weapon for purposes under the law? This is a grey area of the law and you should consult directly with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney if you are facing such a situation. Another question which may arise is whether a knife or other object can be considered a dangerous weapon. The statute defines dangerous weapon as, “an item that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.” As you can imagine, this phrase might be interpreted in many different ways. Many objects may or may not apply under this definition. Is a small pocket knife capable of causing death or serious injury? A prosecutor might want to argue so. For purposes of this section of the law, “under the influence” has the same meaning as it does under the DUI Statutes in Utah. Therefore, if you are given a breathalyzer and your BAC level is greater than .08, you would likely be considered under the influence for purposes of this weapon charge.
Defenses to Carrying a Dangerous Weapon
Perhaps it is most useful to explain first what are not considered defenses under the law. First, just because you may be a licensed concealed weapon carrier does not mean you can carry your gun while you are intoxicated. Second, just because you may be lawfully hunting, doesn’t mean you can be drunk and carrying a rifle or shotgun. These are two common scenarios in which someone may be charged with this crime but think they have a valid defense when they do not. Proper defenses would be anything that demonstrates the elements of the crime are not met including if your BAC level is lower than .08 or you pass field sobriety tests.
Call a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are charged with the crime described above, call and speak with a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer at our office right away. Our phone consultations are free and we answer at all hours of the day and night. More often than not, we speak to people charged with carrying a dangerous weapon while drunk who have not hurt anyone and do not deserve to have the book thrown at them. Whatever your situation may be, you would be well served to hire an attorney in your defense. Call us today at 435-215-1101.