Certain rights regarding the possession of firearms are given to Americans in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. These rights, however, do not come without responsibility. Therefore, the right to bear arms comes with federal- and state-mandated restrictions and regulations to provide for a measure of safety for both gun owners and the public. A violation of state gun laws in Prince William County may be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending upon the severity of the offense, the intent of the offender, the damage done, and whether or not a more severe crime is committed in addition to the firearm violation. If you are facing gun-related charges, you can benefits from the skills of an experienced Prince William County gun lawyer to help you understand the nature of your charges and the penalties that accompany a gun-crime conviction. A criminal defense attorney who is adept in Virginia gun laws can provide you with invaluable legal representation and lead you through your trial.
Prince William Gun Lawyers Handle These Cases
Virginia places a high priority on the safety of its residents. One way in which the state seeks to protect its people is through the regulation of gun ownership and usage. Without regulations, the right to bear arms could be detrimental to public health and safety.
The Virginia Criminal Code covers gun laws under Section 18.2-279 through Section 18.2-312. In these sections, state law regulates such things as locations in which firearm possession is legal, where and how guns may be discharged, what types are firearms are considered to be legal, and those who are and are now allowed to possess firearms. These restrictions regarding illegal gun usage and possession include, but are not limited to:
- Hunting with a firearm while intoxicated
- Intimidation by brandishing a deadly weapon
- Possession of a firearm within a place of worship, school, courthouse, or airport terminal
- Discharging a firearm in a public place, building, or dwelling place
- Possession of a loaded weapon in a public place without a valid concealed handgun permit
- Possession of sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, or other illegally-altered firearm
- Possession of a Striker 12 Streetsweeper, Armsel Striker, or similar semi-automatic firearm
If a gun possession violation or violation of gun usage law has landed you facing criminal gun charges, you need to contact a Prince William County gun lawyer to represent your case in court. A gun attorney can provide you with a free case evaluation to answer your questions regarding state gun laws and the associated penalties and begin the development of your defense.
Penalties for Gun Crimes in Virginia
Depending upon the severity of the offense or additional offenses related to a gun crime, the assailant may find himself or herself facing either misdemeanor or felony charges. As the details of each gun crime allegation vary, so does the punishment. The gun charges may be for possession in a location in which firearm possession is prohibited by law, but even then, the particular locale makes a difference. If the public place includes a church building or other place of worship, an airport terminal or a school, the punishment is more severe than for possession in various other public places. Additionally, if the firearm is discharged, the charges and penalties take into consideration factors like:
- Intent to harm
- Intent to threaten
- Accidental discharge
- Civilian injury
- Discharge during commission of another, more serious crime
Depending on a number of factors, each firearm possession or discharge offense is strategically penalized to properly match the severity of the crime. For instance, firearm possession in a place of worship, courthouse, or airport terminal, without illegal discharge or the commission of an additional crime, is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If during illegal possession in such a place the firearm is discharged, someone is injured, or another crime is committed, the offender faces felony charges of varying degrees, leading to more lengthy incarceration, heftier fines, and the potential for additional penalties and future restrictions.
Whether your charge is a first time possession offense or a gun-related felony offense, your rights remain the same regarding legal representation. Virginia gun law and the associated punishment can seem confusing to one not familiar with the variables involved in the Commonwealth’s complex legal code. By securing a gun lawyer well-versed in cases of Virginia gun crimes, you will find yourself backed by knowledgeable legal representation dedicated to your defense.
How Prince William County Gun Lawyers Can Help
Contact an aggressive gun lawyer in Prince William County for a free case evaluation. Your legal representative will work diligently to not only minimize the consequences established by state law, but personal and professional repercussions, as well.