Going armed with intent in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, criminal prosecution

Going armed with intent is a shorthand for an Iowa criminal law violation that prohibits any person from (1) going armed with any dangerous weapon; (2) with the intent to use without justification any such weapon against the person of another. Iowa Code § 708.8.

 

A dangerous weapon is defined here.

 

This offense requires the specific intent to use the dangerous weapon against another person. Iowa Model Jury Instruction 800.15.

 

With regard to specific intent, the Iowa Model Criminal Jury Instructions note that “‘[s]pecific intent’ means not only being aware of doing an act and doing it voluntarily, but in addition, doing it with a specific purpose in mind.

 

The instructions further admonish that:

 

“Because determining the defendant's specific intent requires you to decide what [the Defendant] was thinking when an act was done, it is seldom capable of direct proof.  Therefore, you should consider the facts and circumstances surrounding the act to determine the defendant's specific intent.  You may, but are not required to, conclude a person intends the natural results of [his] [her] acts.”

 

Iowa Model Criminal Jury Instruction 200.2

 

Being “armed” means “a conscious and deliberate possession of a dangerous weapon on or about one's person so it is available for immediate use.” Iowa Criminal Model Jury Instruction 800.16.

 

And “going” in the “going armed” part of the statute requires some “proof of movement” even on one’s own property—which is not as sacrosanct as one might believe. For example, in 1994, the Iowa Supreme Court examined whether a man going from inside his own house to his lawn while carrying a knife pursuing someone else was excluded from the definition of “going” in the “going armed” statute. It found that there was no such statutory exclusion writing:

 

“As for ‘going’ armed, we believe the term necessarily implicates proof of movement. That requirement is met here by uncontradicted testimony that Ray pursued Kelly from inside the house onto the front lawn while carrying the knife.”

 

State v. Ray, 516 N.W.2d 863, 865 (Iowa 1994).

 

The Ray Court stated that the landowner’s exception to Iowa Code 724.4, e.g., the right to possess legally on one’s own property, “loses force, however, when applied to going armed with intent, a crime with an additional element: that the defendant intends to use the weapon ‘without justification’ against another.”

 

Id.

 

A bill introduced in the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature proposes to add language in Iowa Code § 724.4 that:

 

“THE INTENT REQUIRED FOR A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE INFERRED FROM THE MERE CARRYING OR CONCEALMENT OF ANY DANGEROUS WEAPON ITSELF, INCLUDING THE CARRYING OF A LOADED FIREARM, WHETHER IN A VEHICLE OR ON OR ABOUT A PERSON'S BODY.”

 

2017 Bill Text IA H.B. 147

 

Query whether the requirement for specific intent already accomplishes this.

 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an Iowa OWI (DUI), contact Cmelik OWI and Criminal Law PLC at 319-389-4276 or

 

https://www.cedarrapidsduilawyer.lawyer

 

for an initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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