While you may believe that carrying a gun or a weapon is your right, the law holds that certain weapons are prohibited in our state, and that in order to carry other weapons, a permit is required. If you have been charged with a gun or weapons crime in Virginia, our criminal defense lawyers at the office of Bain Sheldon can represent you. When you are facing criminal charges, you have a right to defend yourself – our attorneys will aggressively build your case and advocate for your best interests. Call us as soon as possible after being arrested and charged with gun/weapons charges.
There are a number of different crimes involving guns and weapons in our state. These crimes include, but are not limited to:
Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit: If you are in your own home, on your own property, or within your own personal business, you have the right to be in possession of a legal weapon. However, if you venture onto private property that is not yours or onto property that is public, you no longer have that right unless you have a concealed weapons permit. In order to get a concealed weapons permit in our state, you must be at least 21 years of age. You must also not be legally barred from gun ownership for other reasons (such as conviction on another criminal charge).
Illegal possession of a firearm: Even when a weapon is not prohibited in the state–such as a handgun or rifle–it is illegal for certain persons to have such a weapon in their possession. To be sure, those who have been convicted of a felony, those who have had a domestic violence order of protection issued against them, minors, and certain others may not possess certain weapons or firearms. Illegal possession can result in criminal charges.
Carrying a legal concealed weapon in certain places: Even if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, there are certain places where carrying a weapon or a gun is not permitted, regardless of whether or not you have a permit. For example, you are not permitted to bring a gun onto school grounds or places of religious worship. Doing so can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the circumstances.
Possession of an illegal weapon: Finally, there are a few types of weapons and guns that are prohibited in our state, no matter what permit you have, your age, or where you are located at the time of possession. The use of certain weapons can also be prohibited in certain instances. For example, you cannot fire a gun–even if you are legally in possession of that gun–on a city street or in a public place. Similarly, it is against the law to hunt while intoxicated. It is also against the law to possess a firearm while simultaneously in possession of a controlled substance classified as a Schedule I or Schedule II drug (see: Code of Virginia Section 18.2-308.4).
If you are facing gun or weapons charges in our state, the first thing that you should do is hire an attorney who can explain the charges you’re facing and your options. It is very important that you understand the charges and what the prosecution will need to prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) in order to secure a conviction – the potential sentence that you will face largely depends on the specific of the crime of which you are being accused.
For example, carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor offense (for a first offense). A Class 1 misdemeanor can be punished by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up $2,500. It is also a Class 1 misdemeanor offense for minors to be in possession of guns. On the other hand, someone who has previously been convicted of felony charges can be charged with a Class 6 felony for being in possession of a gun. This could result in up to five years of incarceration.
If you are facing guns or weapons charges in our state, you may be looking at time in jail or prison, a large fine, and a permanent mark on your criminal record that limits your future opportunities. At the law office of Bain Sheldon, our experienced criminal defense lawyers believe in providing our clients with the best possible legal services. When you call our team, we will start working on your case immediately. Please reach out to our law firm today to learn more about your options and how we can help. You can reach us online or by phone – we recommend you call a lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested.