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What Firearms Are Classified As Dangerous Weapons?

Certain criminal charges in the State of Arizona have less to do with your actions and more to do with the circumstances surrounding your behavior. For example, you could face greater legal jeopardy when you are accused of committing a crime while using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

What firearms are classified as dangerous instruments? Under the law, anything that could be used to harm or kill a person qualifies as a dangerous instrument. This issue is important, given that sentences are typically much harsher when these weapons come into play. A skilled criminal defense lawyer from Grand Canyon Law Group can help you understand these charges and advise you on your options.


There are certain criminal charges that involve the use of a dangerous weapon or instrument, and there are countless objects that could qualify. The law defines these instruments as any item that could cause serious injury or death to another person under certain circumstances.

It is not necessary for these items to be weapons by design. That means mundane household objects like baseball bats or razor blades could count. It is not necessary for these things to be dangerous in all circumstances; as long as they could potentially cause death or severe injuries in some cases, it is enough to qualify.


A number of criminal offenses involve the use of a deadly weapon. These objects differ from dangerous instruments in an important way: they are items that are dangerous and could be used to cause injuries or even kill another person. Alternatively, objects are labeled “deadly” when they are designed with the sole purpose of killing another human being.

With that in mind, any functional firearm qualifies as both deadly and dangerous. There are other objects—including items like baseball bats or cinder blocks—that have the potential to cause serious injuries but were not designed for that purpose.

There is an important exception in the law to be aware of: a motor vehicle can be considered deadly even though they are not inherently designed to harm other people. They only fall into this category in cases where they lead to an injury at the hands of an impaired motorist.


While there are distinctions between dangerous and deadly weapons in the law, the use of either type of object could result in an aggravated assault charge. The penalties associated with this offense are serious, as the aggravating factors that are included in the statute are reserved for especially dangerous conduct or vulnerable victims.

There are 11 different types of behavior that can result in a charge of aggravated assault. They include everything from knowingly injuring a peace officer to attacking someone in their private residence. One of these behaviors involves committing the crime while using either a deadly or dangerous instrument.

This offense is treated as a Class 3 felony, and a conviction can lead to a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison, with a maximum term of 15. There are also steep fines that can come into play as well. Thankfully, a weapons defense attorney could help you fight back against these charges.


If you are facing charges of aggravated assault, it can be helpful to understand what firearms are classified as dangerous weapons. While that definition is important, it is only one aspect of facing a major criminal charge. Grand Canyon Law Group can review the allegations against you and build the best possible strategy moving forward.