Fredericksburg Gun Lawyer
In the United States, owning a gun is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Second Amendment guarantees that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon by the government. In recent years, this language has come under close consideration. From a legal standpoint, owning a firearm is legal in Virginia once certain rules and regulations are adhered to.
If you have been charged with a gun-related violation, contact a Fredericksburg gun lawyer to discuss your options. An experienced attorney has the resources to help you through this process and ensure that your legal rights are protected. En Español.
Importance of a Criminal Defense Strategy
Failing to comply with state and federal gun regulations could result in fines, penalties, license suspensions, and even incarceration, depending on the circumstances of the violation.
Legal ramifications of gun law violations could have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life by affecting future employment opportunities, prohibiting the future gun ownership, and having the violation appear on a criminal background check.
For more serious violations, a felony conviction forces the defendant to forego certain civil rights and privileges, including the rights to vote, serve as a juror, run for public office, and carry a firearm.
Virginia Gun Law Regulations
Virginia State law prohibits the possession and ownership of a gun under certain conditions:
- Automatic weapons must be registered with state police under Virginia Code §18.2-295
- Background checks are not required for private sales
- Possession of a weapon on public or private school is prohibited under Virginia Code §18.2-308.1
- Possession of a gun, pistol, or other dangerous weapons to place of worship is prohibited under Virginia Code§18.2-283
- Possession of a weapon in Court is prohibited under Virginia Code §18.2-283.1
- Possession of a weapon in an airport is prohibited under Virginia Code §18.2-287.01
- Possession of a concealed weapon is prohibited unless the person has permission to do so under Virginia Code§18.2-308.2
In addition to these laws, discharging a firearm in certain areas, or carrying a firearm in other areas may be prohibited depending on the circumstances. Prior to taking any action with a firearm, consult with a Fredericksburg gun attorney to ensure no statutes are being inadvertently violated.
Federal laws are notoriously complex. While complying with state law, a gun owner must also be aware of federal statutes that govern gun control and ownership nationwide. Federal law prohibits convicted defendants from owning or possessing firearms, with few exceptions.
The law also places a premium on misdemeanor criminal domestic violence convictions by prohibiting individuals who have been convicted of a domestic violence-related misdemeanor from owning firearms. The Federal firearm prohibition also excludes individuals who are under indictment for certain felonies.
Possible Gun Crime Defenses
The most commonly inquired defense is a mistake of law. The mistake of law is rarely an excuse to a criminal law violation. The law typically requires that an individual become knowledgeable of the applicable law before engaging in a particular activity, such as gun ownership. Arguing that an individual did not know that a certain prohibition constituted a criminal offense will almost always fail in court.
A common defense relates to the ownership of the gun and the underlying crime. In certain circumstances, an individual may be able to argue that a possession of a firearm is not, in and of itself, a violation of a criminal statute. Rather, the possession must be in furtherance of some overt act.
Alternatively, if the police officers that found the weapon stopped or searched an individual improperly (Fourth Amendment violation), an experienced gun lawyer in Fredericksburg may be able to suppress that evidence in court.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have been charged with a gun-related violation, contact a Fredericksburg gun lawyer to speak about the matter for an initial consultation.
Your lawyer can research your case, discuss the applicable law with you, and investigate the matter by speaking with witnesses and interviewing arresting officers. Take the first steps to a sound defense by contacting an attorney now.