Deadly Weapons Enhancements

The Deadly Weapon Enhancement: Consequences of Conviction. A Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney’s Perspective.

As criminal defense attorneys | lawyers, we are acutely aware that in general, there is nothing inherently illegal with possessing or using a weapon.  However, problems surface when it is a prohibited weapons, or, a person is accused of using one in a crime or in self-defense  and is facing criminal charges and a potential conviction.

What is a deadly weapon?

Aside from firearms (which carry their own specific enhancement, deadly weapons are defined as an implement or instrument which has the capacity to inflict death and from the manner in which it is used, is likely to produce or may easily and readily produce death. This is an incredibly broad definition and includes, at minimum, the following: Blackjack, sling shot, Billy, sand club, sandbag, metal knuckles, any dirk, dagger, any knife having a blade longer than three inches, any razor with an unguarded blade, any metal pipe or bar used or intended to be used as a club, any explosive, and any weapon containing poisonous or injurious gas.  These are instruments included in the statutory definition; the only limit is the definition and your imagination.  Pit bulls, a glass at a bar and cars have all ben found to be deadly weapons under the right circumstances. One can see this definition can be broadly construed, but the key to determining whether an object is a deadly weapon is the manner in which it is used.  A brick, depending on its use, can be a deadly weapon.  Given each fact scenario is unique in law, a consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys | lawyers is necessary to determine the likelihood of the enhancement in each particular case.

What is the Deadly Weapon Enhancement?

Washington State uses a sentencing system that, in theory, produces a similar result for similar behavior.  The deadly weapon enhancement is an automatic increase in sentencing time that is imposed by the court any time a deadly weapons is plead and proven to have been used in a crime. It doesn’t matter if you are charged as the accomplice or the accused, whether you are charged as completing a felony or simply attempting, conspiring or soliciting to commit such an felony, Washington law will require to you do additional time if a judge or jury finds you used a deadly weapon in the commission of most felonies or any felony assaults. Again, there is nothing a criminal defense attorney | lawyer or the prison system’s reward system for good time can do to shorten these mandatory minimums.  There are nuances in the case law surrounding this code section that can allow your criminal defense lawyer | attorney to argue about its application, but these are the exceptions not the rule. Depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime, this enhancement will result in additional prison time of:


First Deadly Weapon Offense                                               2 years
Subsequent Deadly Weapon Offense                                 4 years


First Deadly Weapon Offense                                               1 year
Subsequent Deadly Weapon Offense                                 2 years


First Deadly Weapon Offense                                              6 months
Subsequent Deadly Weapon Offense                                 1 year

* The deadly weapon enhancement does not apply to charges that include a deadly weapon as an element of the charge, so the enhancement cannot be applied to possession of a machine gun, possessing a stolen firearm, drive-by shooting, theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm in the first and second degree, or use of a machine gun in a felony.

The criminal defense lawyers | attorneys in our office have handled a wide variety of complicated cases in the criminal arena over the course of our lengthy criminal law careers. We are a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police reports claim and our clients hire us because they want staunch, uncompromising and effective counsel who takes the time to fight vigorously to make sure their rights are protected. Whether our role is as counsel, negotiator or courtroom litigator, we have years of experience in and out of court fighting and resolving cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.

Robert Rhodes

With a successful background in law, courtrooms, wrestling, rugby and jujitsu, Robert Rhodes’s nature is well-suited for argument and litigation. Mr. Rhodes knows how to talk clearly and directly to his clients, adversaries and to the Court. His common sense, straight talk and experience put his clients immediately at ease. Mr. Rhodes does not do anything half way and you will sense this when you meet him. Read more >>