Alexandria Gun Lawyer
While it may be your constitutional right to keep and bear arms, there are certain instances in which this right can be legitimately infringed upon by state and federal governments. As a means of deterring violent crime and protecting the public, legislators have enacted prohibitions on particular types of conduct associated with firearms, ranging from the manufacturing and sale of guns to use and possession of the weapons. In the wake of a number of nationally publicized tragedies involving the use of firearms, the public sentiment for gun control has grown stronger. As such, law enforcement officers are more vigilant than ever, as are the prosecutors that seek to bring criminals to justice. The city of Alexandria is no exception, and therefore, if you are facing gun charges, retaining an Alexandria gun lawyer as soon as possible is in your best interest.
Prevalence of Weapons Crimes in Alexandria
The following anecdote, albeit unconventional, is illustrative of how seriously invested law enforcement is in the protection of the public against weapons crimes. In February of 2013, a ten year old student was arrested in his Alexandria school for carrying a gun replica. Officials not only questioned the pre-teen, they also detained him in a juvenile center. They claim the arrest was based on the fact that the child failed to inform his fellow students of the fact that the gun he was in possession of was merely a toy. He was later released, but this incident is reflective of both the vigilance of law enforcement and the measures that are taken to protect the public.
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According to the Alexandria Police Crime Report, there were 43 incidents within the jurisdiction classified as weapon law violations in 2013. These reported violations either resulted in arrest or are currently pending. However, this classification is narrowly limited to instances in which gun violations took place that were not involved in, or in furtherance of, other criminal conduct such as assault, homicide, robbery, or sexual offenses. Thus, the actual number of offenses that involved weapons is significantly greater than the statistic indicates.
In light of the aforementioned, the media was captivated at the end of last year by a reported correlation between an increase in firearms sales and a decrease in crime. Policy makers and gun-enthusiasts contend that a greater saturation of guns in the community will make it less likely that a criminal will threaten victims due to the increased propensity for the victim to be in possession of a firearm for self-defense. However, this consensus is subject to critical debate, and those who disagree point to the downward trend in crime that preceded the surge in gun sales by a number of years. Nonetheless, weapons crimes do occur in Alexandria and Virginia at large, and their consequences are significant.
There are a number of different types of offenses that could possibly result in a gun charge in Alexandria, Virginia. Some of the more common weapons charges a gun lawyer in Alexandria can help you with are listed below:
- Possessing or purchasing a weapon without the necessary licensing and registration
- Possessing a concealed handgun without a valid permit
- Possessing a concealed handgun with a valid permit while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs
- Possessing a concealed handgun with a valid permit while on the premises of an institution licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages
- Pointing, holding, or brandishing a firearm in such a way that reasonably induces fear in another person
- Possessing a handgun as a minor
- Possessing a handgun as a convicted felon
Penalties for Violation
The penalties for violating one of the aforementioned criminal statutes, or other weapons-related laws under Section 18.2 of the Code of Virginia, will vary depending upon a number of factors. Some statutes prescribe enhanced penalties if the violation was a first, second, or subsequent offense, while others differ in severity depending upon the location of the incident, the professional identity of the victim, injuries sustained by the victim, and the intent of the accused, amongst others. For instance, if a person maliciously discharges a firearm in a populated building in such a way that endangers the life of another person, he or she will be guilty of a Class 4 felony, whereas if such a person does so unlawfully, but not maliciously, the perpetrator will be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The difference in penalties between a Class 4 and a Class 6 felony are significant, including double the mandatory and maximum term of imprisonment, and a substantial increase in maximum fines. More information pertaining to the distinction between felony classes can be found here.
While the penalty for a weapons crime cannot be generalized, what is true across all of the statutes is that the penalties are significant. Upon conviction your liberty can be taken away and you can be subjected to prolonged financial hardship as a result of steep fines. Thus, it is recommended that you secure legal counsel who is both experienced in handling these types of cases, and familiar with navigating the Alexandria criminal justice system.
The Importance of Legal Representation
An experienced Alexandria gun lawyer has an intimate understanding of the applicable laws governing the jurisdiction, common defenses that are invoked in weapons cases, and what strategies law enforcement and prosecutors use. Moreover, despite that the majority of criminal cases result in plea-bargains, you should seek out an attorney who has experience taking cases to trial. This quality is important as it can be the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. If you are facing weapons charges, contact an experienced Alexandria gun lawyer with Thomas Soldan Attorney at Law today. Our Alexandria firearm attorneys offer a free initial consultation of your case, and are ready and willing to assist you.