Henrico County Gun Lawyer
The Second Amendment protects your right to keep and bear arms. Virginia is a shall issue state, which means the state must issue you a permit for a firearm, provided you meet eligibility criteria. The gun laws in Virginia are generally designed to protect your right to own and carry a gun, however, there are limits.
If you have been accused of violating the state laws on weapons possession or use, a Henrico County gun lawyer can assist you in understanding the penalties you face and in defending yourself against the criminal charges in Henrico County.
In the state of Virginia, someone may be charged with a crime for illegally owning a gun, illegally purchasing a gun for themself or someone else, or illegally using a weapon. Gun crimes in Virginia include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. It is considered a class 1 misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapon unless someone has a Virginia permit or one from a state with reciprocity. Second offenses for concealed carrying with no permit are charged as class 6 felonies and third or subsequent offenses are charged as class 5 felonies. The law does not apply to people in their home or place of business, to certain current or retired law enforcement personnel, or to people transporting weapons to and from shooting ranges. As well as to weapons training courses, or exhibits if the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped, or to people with valid handgun permits who are legally hunting and need to protect their weapons from inclement weather.
- Possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony. This is a class 6 felony with a minimum penalty of two years incarceration, unless someone was previously convicted of a violent felony. A prior conviction for a violent felony means they will go to jail for at least five years for unlawful possession of a firearm.
- Using a firearm while committing a felony. It is illegal to use or attempt to use a gun, or to display a gun, when committing a felony. For a first offense, someone will face a minimum of three years’ incarceration and for subsequent convictions, they will face at least five years. This offense, and the penalties for it, are separate from any other criminal charges for the felonious acts.
- Discharging a gun at a building or while inside a building. This makes shooting a gun in or at a building a class 4 felony if the shooting is done maliciously, or if the building is occupied and those inside were endangered, or if the building is a school. If the shooting is unlawful but not malicious, then someone can be charged with a class 6 felony.
- Discharging a gun in public spaces. It is a class 6 felony to discharge any gun in public if and cause someone bodily injury. Otherwise, discharging a gun in public is a class 1 misdemeanor unless someone is in or near a school, in which case they will be charged with a class 4 felony.
Misdemeanor gun crimes can result in less than a year of incarceration, while felony offenses can lead to more than a year of imprisonment. Conviction leaves someone with a criminal record and can affect their future right to bear arms. To protect their rights and decide how to respond to the charges they face, it is a good idea to talk to a Henrico County gun lawyer.
How a Gun Lawyer Can Help
A Henrico County gun lawyer can assist you in arguing that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated if police found your weapon in an illegal search. They can acquire that any evidence obtained illegally cannot be used against you, and prosecutors could be forced to drop gun charges without sufficient evidence
A skilled attorney can raise defenses to gun crimes. Defenses vary on the facts and intent, depending upon the offense. They can also introduce reasonable doubt. Unless a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that gun laws were violated, you should not be convicted.
The right to bear arms is a fundamental right in the United States. If you are being charged with a crime related to weapons, do not hesitate to get help from a Henrico County gun lawyer.