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Penalty Enhancement involving Firearms in Culpeper

Penalty enhancements are something that the legislature adds when someone is convicted of a particular crime, either because it is a more serious variety of the offense or because a person has committed that offense in the past. There are certain penalty enhancements that a person can anticipate in the course of gun case.

Most of these are going to relate to having had previous charges. For example, if a person has had a firearm charge in the past, they can anticipate that the sentence would be more severe. In addition, under the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines, anytime a firearm is used in the course of a felony, that adds points to the sentencing guidelines and can yield a tougher sentence. In order to best understand how to approach penalty enhancements involving firearms in Culpeper, an experienced gun attorney is an essential help.

Qualifying Charges for Penalty Enhancements

Almost any crime of violence, if it also involves a firearm, is going to trigger an enhanced sentence. Whether it is a malicious wounding, reckless discharge of a firearm, or a variety of others, the presence of a firearm particularly when someone had a previous conviction can trigger a tougher sentence upon conviction.

Examples of Enhancements

There is no requirement in Virginia that anyone registers a firearm, as it is an open carry state. The main requirement that people trip across is that an individual cannot conceal a weapon in Virginia without having a concealed carry permit. That is something that people frequently are unaware of and find themselves in trouble for.

In terms of the strongest penalty enhancements that are seen in Culpeper, they relate to people being in possession of firearms who are legally disqualified from possession. For example, if a person is a convicted felon, they are disqualified from possessing a firearm or if a person has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution at any time in the past they are disqualified from carrying a firearm.

If a person is found to be in possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony within the last 10 years, there is a mandatory minimum two-year jail sentence that comes along with that. In addition, if the person’s prior felony conviction was for something that is considered a crime of violence, there is a five-year mandatory minimum penalty upon conviction for that charge.

Working with an Attorney

If a person is facing a crime with penalty enhancements in Culpeper involving firearms, then they are almost certainly looking at some kind of mandatory minimum sentencing under Virginia law. Minimum mandatory sentencing is one of the toughest things to contend with for a defendant in Virginia. The reason for this is that these laws require judges to impose active periods of incarceration upon conviction.

This means the judge does have the discretion to not impose that penalty, the judge cannot suspend any part of that penalty nor will the person get any good behavior credit when that penalty is applied. Because there is so little discretion for the judge to exercise in cases of this nature, it makes it all the more important that the charge either be dismissed or reduced and that is the reason why a person has to have a qualified, experienced attorney in Culpeper to assist that person if they are facing aggravated penalties.

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