The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of an individual to keep and bear arms (see DC v. Heller, decided by the Supreme Court in 2008) However, this right is not unqualified, and certain restrictions exist at both the federal and state levels. Due to the complex nature of gun charges, and the variety of restrictions you may face, it is important that you discuss any gun-related offense with a dedicated Arlington gun lawyer. We have extensive experience with gun-related charges and is well-equipped to fight your case and defend your constitutional right. For specific answers to your questions, contact our office today for a no-cost case evaluation. For a general overview of your constitutional right and to find out what a dedicated lawyer can do to help you, please read on.
Limitations on this constitutional right exist for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is the preservation of public safety. For example, under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g) it is a federal offense for a convicted felon to possess, ship, transport, or receive any firearm or ammunition. In addition to federal restrictions, the Virginia state legislature has written into law various prohibitions and limitations on the sale, possession, and use of firearms. The totality of these laws applies to the residents of Arlington and those within the jurisdiction. While the penalties for violating firearms laws range in severity, criminal charges are not to be taken lightly. Law enforcement and prosecutors have access to a tremendous amount of resources, and thus it is paramount that you secure legal counsel who is as committed to your defense as the prosecution is to obtaining a conviction. If you are facing weapons charges, securing the assistance of an Arlington gun lawyer is in your best interest, as such an attorney will have an intimate understanding of the relevant laws, applicable defenses, and appropriate courses of action to take given the facts of your case.
Below is a description of some of the pertinent federal and state weapons laws that govern Arlington, their corresponding penalties, and how an Arlington gun attorney can be of assistance to you.
While an individual is lawfully allowed to carry a loaded firearm in Arlington, this freedom is subject to some exceptions. Per Section 18.2-287.4, it is unlawful for an individual to carry certain loaded firearms in public areas. These restrictions pertain to weapons with enhanced ammunition capacity and attachments such as a silencer or folding stock. The provisions of the statute do not apply to persons with a valid concealed handgun permit and particular individuals acting in their professional capacity (e.g. a law enforcement officer). A person will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for violating this statute.
In Arlington, it is legal for one to carry a concealed handgun provided that the person has been issued a valid concealed handgun permit. Section 18.2-308 outlines the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons and the exceptions that are recognized under the law. Depending upon whether or not it is one’s first, second, or third or subsequent offense, he or she will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, Class 6 felony, or Class 5 felony respectively. The law on concealed carry is incredibly fact-dependent, and therefore if you are facing criminal charges, it is best to speak with an Arlington gun lawyer who can evaluate the specifics of your case.
Section 18.2-282 of the Code of Virginia places a prohibition on the pointing, holding, or brandishing of a firearm in a way that “reasonably induce[s] fear in the mind of another,” or doing so in a public place “in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured.” Importantly, this prohibition applies irrespective of whether or not the weapon is capable of being fired. The principle defense to engaging in such conduct is if an individual did so in the course of self-defense – an affirmative defense that an Arlington gun lawyer can construct depending upon the circumstances of your case. If one is in violation of the statute, he or she will be guilty of either a Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 6 felony depending upon the location where the conduct occurred.
In addition to displaying a weapon, there are naturally prohibitions against discharging a firearm. It is illegal to maliciously or unlawfully discharge a firearm in such a way that constitutes an endangerment to the life of another person or persons, as codified under Section 18.2-279. The penalty for violating the statute will depend upon a variety of factors including intent, whether the conduct caused injury or death, and the location in which one discharged the weapon. Further prohibitions are codified under Section 18.2-280. A full and accurate explanation of these laws and how they apply to your case can only come from an Arlington gun lawyer. Call one today.
The penalty for weapons crimes can include fines, imprisonment, probation, and the suspension or revocation of your carrying license, amongst others. Punishment for conviction of a misdemeanor ranges from a fine not to exceed $250.00 to a 12-month term of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.00 (Section 18.2-11). Additional information regarding misdemeanor penalties for weapons crimes can be found by consulting an Arlington gun attorney.
Alternatively, one can be guilty of a felony for certain weapons offenses. The consequences of a felony conviction are more severe than those of a misdemeanor, and entail mandatory minimums of incarceration in addition to stiff fines. The specific gradations of felonies are codified here, but importantly, there are also various collateral consequences associated with a felony conviction.
In light of the complexity and breadth of federal and state legislation that exists with respect to the purchase, sale, possession, and use of weapons, criminal defense necessitates an attorney who is both experienced and well-versed in the law. If you are facing weapons charges, your liberty and livelihood are at stake. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors will zealously pursue their case against you, thus making it paramount that you secure competent and dedicated legal counsel. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience defending those who are facing criminal charges in Arlington and offer a free initial consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Contact a criminal defense attorney today.
If you are facing weapons charges in nearby DC, it is important that you retain legal counsel who is well-versed in the federal and state laws that apply to that jurisdiction. Contact DC gun lawyer Shawn Sukumar Attorney at Law for more information.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law