When dealing with deadly weapons involved in criminal charges, law enforcement is typically dealing with firearms. Using a firearm in the commission of a felony such as an assault charge enhances the potential penalties. If you are facing charges, it is essential to have a Fredericksburg assault with a deadly weapon lawyer by your side as you build a defense. The courts and the prosecution take these offenses very seriously. Therefore, the best way to ensure the greatest chance of mitigating the damages or possibly even reaching an acquittal is to work with an experienced defense attorney.
If someone used a knife to assault a law enforcement officer, if they are charged with assault, then the use of the knife may or may not affect the sentencing.
However, in the same scenario, if someone uses a firearm, then they are also going to be charged with an additional crime: the use or display of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The statute states that it is unlawful for any person to use or attempt to use a pistol, shotgun, rifle, or any other firearm, or display such a deadly weapon in a threatening manner while committing or attempting to commit any of the following or similar crimes:
If someone is using a firearm or attempting to use a firearm to commit assault in Fredericksburg, that is going to essentially constitute a separate offense in and of itself. That offense then carries with it a brand new felony with a mandatory minimum of five years in jail.
On the first offense of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, it is a penalty of three years, and for any subsequent offenses, it is a mandatory five years and that is for a felony.
It is important to note that the term firearm, while it encompasses actual firearms, such as pistols, shotguns, and rifles, also includes anything that is perceived as such by the plaintiff at the time of the alleged assault.
That person can come to court and say they thought that gun was not real even if it was. If the person reasonably believed it, that is what matters to the court and the prosecution. The help of a Fredericksburg assault with a deadly weapon lawyer who has experience in these types of instances can be essential.
This confusion can take place quite easily. For example, a lot of Airsoft rifles look like legitimate firearms and were designed to look like legitimate firearms. Similarly, a lot of toy guns are made and look like legitimate firearms. Therefore, when someone uses one in the commission of a felony, then they are looking at a mandatory three years.
In rare instances, there have been times in jury trials where one is charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and the robbery will be dismissed. However, even if the original felony is dismissed, the jury may still argue that they did something and used a fake gun to do it, and they will find a person guilty of the use of firearm. Because of the severity of the penalties, it is extremely important to seek the advice of an experienced Fredericksburg assault with a deadly weapon lawyer as you navigate the process of fighting the charges.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law