Colonial Heights Gun Investigations

There are many categories of firearm offenses, which include illegal possession of a firearm, unlawful discharge of a weapon, carrying firearms in prohibited locations, using a firearm in the commission of a crime, carrying a concealed weapons without a permit, and recklessly handling a gun in public. Gun offenses can carry severe penalties and other long-term consequences.

If you are under a gun offense investigation, contact an attorney. In Colonial Heights, gun investigations are usually incidental but are just as serious as any other firearms charge. Call an experienced gun lawyer today for help with your case.

How Gun Investigations Usually Occur in Colonial Heights

Generally speaking, Colonial Heights gun investigations for illegal possession of a firearm is very short and completely incidental. Usually, officers do not go out of their way to investigate if a person is legally allowed to own or use a firearm they possess.

If police pull and individual over for speeding, on suspicion of driving under the influence, or are searching them for drugs, finding a firearm will usually trigger an investigation. Possessing a firearm while committing a crime can be an enhancing factor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, leading to additional charges or penalties. If an officer finds a gun, they will generally check to see if the person who possessed the firearm, either actually or constructively, is a convicted felon.

Felons are federally barred from ever possessing or using a firearm. Unlike other states though, there is no required registration for firearms, meaning that as long as a person is not a felon, is of legal age (18), they were not committing a crime while possessing that firearm, and the gun complies with federal regulation, the possession is completely legal.

A different kind of gun possession investigation is for the charge of attempt to possess a firearm as a convicted felon. If a felon attempts to purchase a firearm, falsifies documents to do so, or is found at a gun store, gun show, or other firearms distributor, the Virginia State Police are obliged to investigate. These investigations rely on proof that the felon knowingly attempted to purchase a firearm, and was aware that as a felon, their second amendment right was suspended.

How to Recognize a Firearms Investigation and Search

If law enforcement even asks if an individual has a gun, it is an investigation of sorts. Likewise, if an officer begins asking about criminal history, the officer is detaining the individual and investigating based off probable cause. If the officer has probable cause or reasonable belief that a crime was committed, they may be able to search a vehicle or a person’s body. Very often, an officer smelling marijuana on an individual would be grounds for a search, and if a gun is found, there may be an arrest.

Officers will ask for consent to search. If they have probable cause, they will search regardless of the answer, so there is no harm to withholding consent to a search and refusing to answer questions until a lawyer is present. If the officer has a warrant, they may search at will, and if they have made an arrest, the right to refuse a search is forfeit.

Officers may also use a “Terry stop” where probable cause for detention or search is established after a non-investigatory conversation. During such a stop, they cannot search a person’s pockets completely, but they can do a pat-down to identify potential threats such as a gun.

If a firearm is legally owned and either openly carried, or concealed carried with a license, individuals are not required to disclose to police that they are carrying a firearm in a Colonial Heights gun investigation. However, if the gun is carried and concealed, the individual is required to show their license upon request. During a stop or investigation, it is unwise to make any sudden movements while carrying a firearm, or an officer may escalate the situation.

Call a Colonial Heights Lawyer About Firearm Investigations

The moment you are investigated for firearms in Colonial Heights, it is in your best interest to call a lawyer. An attorney could tell you the key components of Colonial Heights gun investigations and how to assert your rights. You are not required to do anything other than provide your name and drivers license if you are detained, and providing anything else could incriminate you. Call today to learn more about how an attorney could help you.