Committing a gun offense in Virginia is a serious criminal matter. Illegally owning or possessing a firearm is an offense, and it is illegal to use a firearm to aid in the commission of a separate criminal offense. A conviction under any of these statutes could lead to a lengthy prison sentence as well as the forfeiture of the ability to own a firearm in the future.
A New Kent gun lawyer could help if you are facing accusations of the improper use of a firearm. An experienced defense attorney could explain the Commonwealth’s firearm laws and develop strong defense strategies to protect your rights and freedoms in court.
The law limits who may own a firearm and where they may legally take them. Some people can never legally possess a gun. According to the Code of Virginia §18.2-308.2, any person with a felony conviction, or who was adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent from the ages of 14 to 17 anywhere in the United States can never legally possess a firearm or ammunition anywhere in the Commonwealth. A violation of this statute is a class 6 felony.
Even if a person is not prohibited from owning a firearm, certain laws limit where a person may take that weapon. VA Code §18.2-287.4 prohibits the possession of a loaded firearm in public if that weapon includes a magazine that can hold more than 20 rounds. Further, it is illegal to ever bring a firearm into a place of worship, a courthouse, or an airport. A New Kent attorney could provide clarification concerning the laws that control responsible gun ownership.
Even people who legally own firearms cannot use those weapons to commit violence or to threaten to do so. Using a gun to commit an assault automatically elevates what would have been a misdemeanor-level offense to a felony. Under VA Code §18.2-51, using a firearm to maliciously shoot another person is a class 3 felony. Even the reckless use of a firearm in such a way is a class 6 felony.
Discharging a firearm in public is also against the law. VA Code §18.2-280 states that firing a gun in public is a class 1 misdemeanor but increases to a class 6 felony if it results in injury to another person.
The use of a firearm can be an aggravating factor in other offenses. Instances such as burglary, robbery, or kidnapping immediately become more serious if prosecutors believe that a firearm was at the scene. Convictions of this type of crime can carry mandatory minimum prison sentences. An attorney in New Kent could help to develop defenses against any allegation of illegal gun use.
Facing accusations of illegal gun use is a serious matter. It is vital that you take aggressive steps to protect yourself.
A New Kent gun lawyer could evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s case to recommend a plan of action. Additionally, an accomplished attorney could protect your Constitutional rights while in police custody and court. Schedule your initial case consultation today.
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