Prosecuting Prince William County Gun Charges
Since most firearm offenses are felonies, many gun cases in Prince William County are prosecuted in the Circuit Court after preliminary hearings are held either in the Juvenile Court or the General District Court. However, misdemeanor gun offenses can be prosecuted entirely within the Juvenile or General District courts. The State takes prosecuting Prince William County gun charges very seriously. If you are facing firearm charges, you should reach out to an accomplished gun lawyer right away. An attorney could fight for you and build a strong argument against the State’s case.
What to Know About Firearm Cases Before a Court Date
Almost every gun offense in Virginia carries potential jail time, such that a person will always have a right to a lawyer when charged with a gun offense. If a person cannot afford a private gun lawyer, the court will appoint a lawyer to the person either on a temporary or permanent basis until the person can hire a private attorney. If certain guns or other property related to the police’s investigation were seized from the accused as part of the gun charge being issued, the accused should not expect those items to be returned while the case is still going. Usually, the first court date of a gun case is not when a full-blown trial occurs, or even when the prosecution first makes a final plea offer. Depending on the case, the prosecutor may not even know much about the case by the first court date because they have not had much or any prior interaction with the arresting officers about what happened and why the charge was issued.
Hotly Contested Factors in Gun Cases
Most gun charge cases involve proving the element of legal possession of a firearm, which the defense will hotly contest if there is any viable way to do so. Many gun charge cases also include elements of proving prior convictions or court orders which give rise to an ineligibility to possess firearms. The age and content of these court documents can become hotly contested if they affect the admissibility of those documents in the trial. Some gun charges also include elements about the way a defendant intended to use a firearm, as well as the likely response of the alleged victim to such use. These elements turn on basic issues of reasonableness, credibility, and circumstantial evidence, which are often hotly contested. A defendant who is facing charges should reach out to a lawyer who has experience building a defense and fighting against the prosecution of Prince William County gun charges.
Evidence Used When Prosecuting Gun Cases
Typical evidence used by the prosecution to prove a gun charge includes observation testimony from civilian bystanders or involved police officers, a defendants own criminal history and own statements made to responding police officers during the investigation and arrest, the actual gun or ammunition recovered from the scene, forensic firearm evidence recovered from the scene or the defendant such as discharged gun powder and discharged bullet casings, and records relating to testing of the guns firing capabilities and chain of ownership.
If you have any questions about prosecuting Prince William County gun charges, reach out to a well-versed lawyer today.