Colonial Heights Gun Lawyer
While the Second Amendment protections safeguard our right to bear arms, there are also numerous gun restrictions in place that many people are not aware of. Frequently, gun owners charged with violating a firearm regulation did not realize their actions broke the law. If you have been charged with a gun offense, hiring a Colonial Heights gun lawyer is a smart course of action.
Colonial Heights gun attorneys are familiar with the lengthy and complex list of gun regulations and can examine the circumstances that led to your charges and determine whether any defenses for your actions may apply.
Types of Firearm Offenses
Gun violations in Virginia are separated into several categories, including discharging or firing weapons unlawfully, recklessly handling guns in public places, carrying firearms in prohibited locations, using or possessing unlawful or regulated types of firearms or ammunition, carrying concealed weapons without a permit, using a firearm in commission of a drug crime, possessing a gun when someone is specifically prohibited from doing so, and having multiple firearm convictions.
No matter what type of gun violation someone has been charged with in Virginia, a gun attorney in Colonial Heights can examine the facts of their case and evaluate how to proceed.
Firearm Violation Defenses
There are two primary exceptions, or defenses, to gun violations: being an authorized law enforcement officer and using reasonable self-defense measures. If someone believes they acted in self-defense when using a firearm, and they were charged with a gun violation, a gun attorney can help.
In some cases, evidence that committing a gun offense was an accident, or that they violated a gun regulation without malice or intent to harm anyone, can mitigate the severity of penalties, to a degree. While a lack of intent to harm will not result in dismissed charges, someone may be eligible for reduced charges carrying less severe punishment.
Gun Offense Penalties
Penalties for gun-related offenses in Virginia are severe, with the rationale that harsh penalties are necessary in order to ensure public safety. For example, under Virginia Code 18.2-279, it is a Class 4 felony to discharge a firearm inside or at a building or public space and is punishable by between two to ten years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Nonviolent gun offenses are typically considered class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia and are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $2500 in fines. This includes such nonviolent offenses as hunting while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, recklessly leaving a gun accessible to children, brandishing a gun in public, carrying a concealed gun without a permit, and carrying a gun in a prohibited place, like a church, courthouse, or airport.
The penalties for violent firearm crimes are far more severe. Using a prohibited or regulated firearm – like a machine gun or sawed-off shotgun, in the commission of a violent crime, for instance, is a Class 2 felony punishable by 20 years to life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Whether someone has been charged with a violent or nonviolent gun violation, a Colonial Heights gun lawyer can help them to design a strong defense.
Multiple Gun Convictions
Nonviolent gun offenses that would otherwise be considered misdemeanors may constitute felonies if a person has at least two prior firearm convictions. Penalties can increase to up to five years in prison. If someone has a prior gun conviction and receive another firearm charge, it is crucial they consult a lawyer with experience handling cases involving multiple gun convictions.
Working with a Gun Lawyer
Due to the often severe penalties that accompany gun charges in Virginia, it is important that those accused of a gun related crime contact a Colonial Heights gun lawyer as soon as possible. A gun lawyer in Colonial Heights can act as your legal representative and help you develop a strong defense based on the circumstances of your charge. For more information or to set up a free consultation call today.