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Possession of Prohibited Dangerous Weapons in Prince William County

Law enforcement takes possession of prohibited dangerous weapons in Prince William County extremely seriously because of the amount of damage they can cause. Any weapon that is set up to be a spring gun, meaning a firearm that can be activated remotely or upon someone coming within proximity of it as detected by a tripwire, spring, or sensor, is a prohibited dangerous weapon.

State law also prohibits the Striker 12, commonly called a streetsweeper, or any semi-automatic folding stock shotgun with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding 12 shells. Both sawed-off shotguns and rifles are also prohibited weapons to possess, as well as plastic firearms that do not contain enough metal to be traceable on an x-ray machine. To learn more about what types of firearms by constitute as dangerous weapons, contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Possession and Subsequent Charges

When Prince William County law enforcement charges someone with possession of prohibited and dangerous firearms, it is common for this person to receive other offenses as well. This is because dangerous weapons are designed to inflict disproportionate amounts of damage to people and property. As such, most individuals who possess these kinds of weapons use them or threaten to use them for this type of conduct is a separate offense depending on the amount of danger or destruction that occurs when they are discharged.

Proving Possession

The legal concept of possession means that someone both knows about the nature and presence of an object and exerts authority or control over the use of that object. This is the same concept applied in other areas of the law, such as drug possession.

In Prince William County, having control over a prohibited dangerous weapon can be either constructive or actual, and either single or joint. It is important to note that possession is not the same as ownership, although the two often coincide.

Under the doctrine of constructive possession, an individual does not need to have a gun on their person to be guilty of possessing a firearm. Therefore, long as the gun is both known and under the control of this individual, it does not matter that the weapon is not physically located on their body at the time of the charge.


Possession of remotely detonated spring guns is a Class 6 felony punishable by a prison sentence of one to five years. Possession of restricted machine and shotguns carries the same punishment. Possession of sawed-off rifles and shotguns, as well as having control of a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is a Class 4 felony that may result in two to ten years in prison. Having control of plastic firearms is a Class 5 felony punishable by one to ten years in prison.

The minimum penalty for using or displaying a firearm in the commission a violent felony, such as assault, has a mandatory prison sentence of three years. If an individual is facing a second or subsequent offense, this charge may result in a mandatory period of incarceration for five years. Possessing sawed-off firearms or machine guns in perpetration of a violent crime is a Class 2 felony punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

Similarly, using restricted firearm ammunition during a crime is a Class 5 felony punishable by one to ten years in prison. Wearing body armor during the commission of a violent or drug crime is a Class 4 felony punishable by two to ten years in prison.

Speak with an Attorney to Discuss Possession of Prohibited Weapons and Firearms in Prince William County

Because the penalties for possession of prohibited dangerous weapons in Prince William County can be severe, you should consult with an experienced attorney if you are facing these allegations. The concept of possession itself can depend on specific legal or factual considerations, and the definitions and characteristics of prohibited dangerous weapons can also hinge on technical forensic distinctions. All of these consequential details in a case can best be identified, scrutinized, and exploited by a skilled dangerous weapons defense attorney.

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