Disclaimer: All the information expressed here is only meant to provide a background on what you need to know legally when faced with firearm or weapon charges and shouldn’t be treated as legal advice. If you want more information on how you can deal with firearm or weapon charges in a legal manner if you’re currently facing one, you should contact a licensed lawyer who knows their way around charges involving weapons or firearms.
Despite most people’s negative perception of them, firearms and weapons aren’t inherently bad. Security, police, and military personnel need them as part of their job. Those who hunt animals as a pastime or hobby also need them since doing so with only their bare hands can put them in harm’s way. However, firearms and weapons are also instruments that can put people’s lives in grave danger and even kill them. Thus, the law doesn’t take kindly to those who violate rules and regulations surrounding the possession and use of firearms and weapons. In fact, if you’ve been charged with unlawful possession or use of a firearm or weapon, you may be asked to pay steep penalties or even go to prison. Thus, you would have to take note of some things that you need to know legally about firearm or weapon charges so that you can defend yourself from them and even cause them to be dismissed.
What Things Do You Need to Know Legally About Firearm / Weapon Charges?
Firearm or weapon charges against a person are taken very seriously by the law. But while most people think of firearm or weapon charges as those brought up against someone who committed a crime using a gun, there are several firearms and weapons in existence that charges related to them are generally divided into two categories: possession and use. For you to better understand the complex nature of firearm or weapon charges, here are some things that you need to know legally about them:
1. If your state has banned certain firearms and weapons, and you currently have at least one of them, you can be charged with possessing an illegal weapon unless you can prove that you weren’t in possession of it.
It doesn’t matter if no one saw or was seriously injured by a firearm or weapon that you have. As long as the state where you’re currently residing has implemented a ban on specific types of firearms and weapons for public safety reasons, you wouldn’t want to be in possession of any of them.
- Even if you don’t plan on using the firearm or weapon in question anytime soon, or are merely in the habit of collecting it as a hobby, you wouldn’t want to have it as long as your state has banned possession of it.
- However, you can prove that the state-banned firearm or weapon found supposedly in your possession wasn’t even yours at all – for instance, if the vehicle where the firearm or weapon itself was found doesn’t belong to you – which can lead for any firearm or weapon charges filed against you to be dropped.
2. If you’ve been convicted in the past of felony and released from prison early or after completing your sentence, you’re not allowed to possess any firearm or weapon at all.
As some felonies don’t require life imprisonment as a sentence, you can get out of prison after serving a certain number of years for a felony conviction, or even earlier if you’ve shown exemplary behavior during your entire stay in jail. But one of the things you shouldn’t do at all upon your return to the outside world is to have a firearm or weapon under your name.
- Since you’re still considered a felon even if you’ve been released from prison, you’re excluded from buying and possessing any kind of firearm and weapon.
- You wouldn’t want to go back to prison and serve another number of years there for a firearm or weapon charge filed against you.
3. Any charge for a crime you face can turn into an aggravated one if it was found out that you’ve either used or displayed a firearm or weapon while committing it.
Regardless if a firearm or weapon in your possession is illegal or not, as long as you’ve either used or shown it to anyone while committing a crime, you can be charged with an aggravated offense instead of a mere regular one.
- As the term “aggravated” implies, you should expect to serve a certain number of years in prison for your firearm or weapon charge in addition to the one that you’ll also have to serve for the crime itself.
- However, you can dispute the firearm or weapon charge filed against you if you can prove that you used a firearm or weapon in self-defense which can turn you from being suspected of committing a crime to being the victim of the crime itself.
Firearms and weapons aren’t necessarily bad, as long as you have and use them within the bounds of the law. But once you possess or use a firearm or weapon unlawfully, you have to expect that firearm or weapon charges would be filed against you whether you’ve committed a crime on top of it or not. Thus, you would want to read the things listed above that you need to know legally about firearm or weapon charges and seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney who can find ways for you to defend yourself against them.