Are Teeth a Dangerous weapon?

Hi and welcome to Legal Musings!  I try to talk a bit about laws dealing with writing and copyrights…but not always.  Today I’m still behind from attending the RT Convention (more posts to follow) so here’s my legal analysis.

Teeth, at least in Oregon, are not considered a dangerous weapon.  Who knew?  More importantly, why does it matter?  Well, assault with a dangerous weapon is so much worse than just plain assault…more jail time. 

A couple of drunk guys got into a fight in a Oregon bar…and one bit the ear of the other.  The biter was charged and convicted for first degree assault, and the lower court determined his teeth were dangerous weapons.  (No, he’s not a vampire).  The guy got 90 months in jail.  The appellate court disagreed, stating that teeth are not external to the human body, so they can’t be a dangerous weapon.  State v. Kuperus, WL 1005364 (2011)

This brings up the question:  what if someone uses dentures?  I mean, those are external to the human body, so…I guess we’ll just have to wait for that case to appear in Oregon.    (Thanks to Rita for sending me the link to the case!)

So…what else has been determined not to be a dangerous weapon?

THE OCEAN:  Yeah.  This guy named Shea invited two women onto his boat off the Massachusetts shore and when they wouldn’t get naked with him, he threw them overboard and drove away.  He was charged with a whole bunch of crimes, including assault with a dangerous weapon (the ocean).  The Massachusetts Court held that the ocean couldn’t be a dangerous weapon because the defendant had no control over it.  Though Shea still ended up in jail for the other crimes.  Commonwealth v. Shea, 38 Mass.App.Ct. 7 (1995).

You know what have been found to be dangerous weapons?  (Depending on jurisdiction).  Mace, Bb guns, chairs, wrenches, concrete…

CYA Disclaimer:  This is not legal advice.  If you want to bite someone, I wouldn’t, but it’s up to you.  Think of the germs.  Yuck.  If they bite you, I still wouldn’t bite them back.  But again, this is not legal advice.  Don’t take this as legal advice.  It is not intended as legal advice.  If you bite someone, you’re on your own.

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2 Responses to Are Teeth a Dangerous weapon?

  1. Staci Jean says:

    Love & look forward to the CYA disclaimer every week!
    I’m curious, what’s the deal with the armed & dangerous (and apparently naked) mermaid? Did I miss a reference to this somewhere along the line?

  2. Lars says:

    In a fair world, the victims in Shea would have transformed into mermaids, swum after Shea’s boat, and battered him with their shields. Maybe that is the visual reference?

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