Being convicted of a gun crime in Virginia can bring serious penalties upon the defendant, and may result in a felony or misdemeanor depending on the specifics of the alleged crime. These types of convictions can carry with them penalties ranging from short terms in jail to extended incarceration in prison, as well as hefty fines, probation, driving restrictions, house arrest and more, again contingent on the nature of the crime. Needless to say, your life could be adversely impacted forever if you’re found guilty of a gun crime in Virginia. Contact a Virginia gun lawyer to discuss your options.
The laws pertaining to Virginia gun crimes are complex and covered by a multitude of criminal codes. This complexity, in addition to the possible penalties, is why it’s in your best interest to hire the assistance of an experienced Virginia gun attorney. A Virginia gun crime defense attorney will look at every aspect of your case in building a strong defense, and use every possible legal resource to fight for your rights and improve your chances of receiving a favorable outcome in court.
Concealed Weapon Crimes in Virginia
State code Section 18.2-308 covers concealed weapon crimes in Virginia, and prohibits carrying a weapon on your person and “hidden from common observation.” The weapons prohibited from concealment in this code include pistols, revolvers or any other weapons designed to fire a bullet or missile through the explosion of combustible material. The also prohibit the concealment of bladed weapons such as dirks, machetes, razors, metal knuckles and bowie knives.
This same code states the penalties for such crimes upon conviction, which include a Class 1 misdemeanor resulting in up to 1 year of jail and up to $2,500 in fines for first-time offenders. For second-time offenders, the penalty is a Class 6 felony which includes a sentence of either up to one year in jail or between one and five years in prison (at the discretion of the court), as well as up to $2,500 in fines. For third-time offenders, the penalty is a Class 5 felony, including between one and 10 years in prison or up to one year in jail, and up to $2,500 in fines.
Exceptions to this law are for:
- A person in his own home or place of business
- Law enforcement officers
- Individuals traveling to or from a shooting range, gun repair business or weapons exhibition
- Individuals engaged in legal hunting
- Individuals with proper permits
The legal language that determines whether a weapon is concealed or displayed publicly is murky and open to interpretation by the courts. This is part of the reason why a skilled, knowledgeable Virginia gun lawyer can assist you in battling the accusations, possibly achieving a reduction of your charges and associated penalties or even a dismissal of the case.
Public Firearm Discharge Crimes in Virginia
In Virginia, state code 18.2-280 prohibits willfully discharging firearms in public places, defined as a street in any town or city, or in a public place of business or gathering. If this action does not result in injury to another individual, the penalty is a Class 1 misdemeanor with up to $2,500 in fines and no more than one year in jail. If these actions do result in another individual’s injury, the penalty is a Class 6 felony including either up to one year in jail or between one and five years in prison, along with a $2,500 fine.
If this crime is committed on school grounds, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds from a piece of public property, the penalty is a Class 4 felony which includes between two and 10 years of prison time as well as a fine not to exceed $100,000.
Public firearm discharge charges are extremely serious and can very well result in a felony conviction, making it extremely difficult to maintain current employment and find stable work in the future, not to mention the associated jail or prison time and fines. A qualified Virginia gun attorney will use expert knowledge of state gun laws and legal defenses to protect your rights and build a strong case.
Displaying or Using a Firearm in Commission of a Felony in Virginia
State code ß 18.2-53.1 prohibits the use or display of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony crime. The penalty for this crime is a “distinct felony” resulting in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years (first-time offenders) or 5 years (subsequent offenders), to be served consecutively with punishments for the felony committed while displaying or using the firearm.
A Virginia Gun Lawyer Can Help
All alleged gun crimes, even those resulting in misdemeanors, must be taken very seriously in Virginia. A skilled Virginia gun lawyer with a strong track record of success is your best defense in fighting the charges and maintaining your freedom.