Manassas Gun Lawyer
The Commonwealth of Virginia (just like the federal government) defines and enforces gun laws for its citizens. They are written to balance our constitutional right to bear arms with laws to protect the public from gun violence. Violation of these statutes is a serious offense in Mannassas, Virginia. Those who are alleged to have committed any crime involving a firearm need the counsel and defense capabilities of a seasoned Manassas gun lawyer to protect them.
Manassas Gun Charges
The Commonwealth has several laws that define who may own, possess, or carry firearms. These laws also carry restrictions that limit certain citizens’ ability to carry weapons. Allegations can be made against people who violate one or more of the following statutes:
Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense [Virginia Criminal Code Section 18.2-308], a class 6 felony upon second conviction, and a class 5 felony for any subsequent conviction. The punishments are:
- Misdemeanor – a maximum jail sentence of a year and/or a fine up to $2,500
- Class 6 Felony – one to five years in prison up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500
- Class 5 Felony – one to 10 years in prison or 12 months in jail and/or the same fine amount
It is, however, legal to carry a concealed handgun with the proper permit, by making an application with the Virginia State Police [VA Code Section 18.2-308.01]. However certain people are restricted from being granted a permit to carry (or even possess a handgun). This group includes:
- Recent patients in a mental hospital
- Convicted felons
- Drug users, addicts and those who illegally distribute or sell drugs
- Illegal/unregistered aliens
- Anyone under an existing restraining order
- Anyone with any prior conviction for domestic assault
- Fugitives from justice
- Ex-military personnel who have been dishonorably discharged
Illegal-discharge violations involve allegations of firing a gun in public [VA Code Section 18.2-280]. If no one is wounded, a class 1 misdemeanor is charged. Penalties upon conviction are a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail. But if someone is wounded, it’s a class 6 felony with a possible prison sentence of up to five years in prison. And if a victim dies, involuntary manslaughter, a class 5 felony, could be charged [VA Code Section 18.2-36.1]. If one shoots a gun at or near an elementary or secondary school, it’s a class 4 felony, which brings a mandatory two to ten year prison sentence and a possible fine of up to $100,000. For more specific information on what type of penalty you may be facing contact a Manassas gun lawyer.
Felony Gun Violations in Manassas
Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony is basically two conjoined felony charges [VA Code Section 18.2-53.1]. The mandatory minimum prison sentence for the firearm felony alone is five years, and could be as many as 10, however since the firearm was used to commit an assault, kidnapping, robbery, or other serious crime, two felony convictions cause the penalties to be combined. Those accused may want to contact a Manassas gun lawyer as these crimes potentially bring prison sentences of 20 years all the way to life, depending on the seriousness of the underlying felony charge that accompanies the firearm conviction.
Other Commonwealth firearm offenses can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies and include:
- Assault involving a firearm (which can be charged as unlawful or malicious wounding) [VA Codes Sections 18.2-51 or 18.2-51.2]
- Brandishing a firearm (even opening your coat to show it can be charged as brandishing) [VA Code Section 18.2-28]
- Making a false statement on a gun permit application [VA Code Section 18.2-308.02(C)]
- Possession of a firearm by a minor [VA Code Section 18.2-308.7]
- Having a loaded firearm in an airport terminal [VA Code Section 18.2-287.01]
- Possessing automatic firearms, assault weapons, sawed-off shotguns or rifles, and illegal ammunition when committing a crime of violence [VA Codes Sections 18.2-288, 18.2-299, 18.2-308.3 and 18.2-287.2]
A Manassas Gun Lawyer Can Help
A number of different firearms offenses can involve possession, unlawful use (in association with other federal crimes), or distribution and illegal sale of firearms and other deadly weapons. Illegally transporting them across state lines, and possession or illegal sale of body armor or illegal ammunition are all federal crimes under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 44. Additional felonies can be charged against “enterprise” or “conspiracy” related federal gun charges to bring penalties as high as life sentences.
Those who are charged or under investigation of any gun violation must immediately consult with an experienced Manassas gun lawyer if they hope to mount an effective defense.