Virginia Gun Sentencing Enhancements
If you are charged with a gun crime in Virginia there are a variety of factors which may lead to increased penalties. The following is information on these factors and what you should know if you are charged. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia gun lawyer today.
How Sentencing Enhancements Can Impact a Criminal Case
The term “penalty enhancement” really refers to sentencing enhancement. Sentencing enhancement is a potential penalty where a fine, an additional period of incarceration, or even an additional period of mandatory, minimum incarceration is added to the sentence for an offense because of something occurring during that underlying offense.
Some common examples involving firearms include assault with a deadly weapon, breaking and entering with a deadly weapon, and possessing certain amounts of Schedule I or II substances with intent to distribute with a deadly weapon. All of these offenses will include sentencing enhancements when a firearm or other deadly weapon is involved, and may under certain circumstances add points to someone’s Virginia Sentencing Guidelines result. In other instances it may add mandatory, minimum periods of incarceration to their sentence.
Other Criminal Charges With Penalty Enhancements
Yes, there are quite a few. The most noteworthy are possession with intent to distribute Schedule I or II drugs with a firearm, breaking and entering with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, and other property offenses which occur when someone has a deadly weapon in their possession. Those are some of the main charges for which you see an enhancement.
Penalty Enhancements in Firearm Cases
The penalty enhancement depends on the person’s prior record and the specific facts and circumstances of their case, but it is common for the penalty enhancement to be an additional period of mandatory incarceration, additional mandatory fine, or in some cases simply additional points added to their Virginia Sentencing Guidelines calculations.
Defending Against Penalty Enhancements
We have to look at the specific facts of the case and the specific statute at issue. Many times the firearm part of the statute is hard to prove, or maybe the firearm was obtained or otherwise learned about through search methods which are not legal or constitutionally sound. Many times it may be a matter of negotiating with the prosecution or the government to try to keep the firearm enhancement out of the case.
Importance of Hiring An Attorney
If you are facing a charge of such a serious nature that it has penalty enhancements, you are going to need an attorney who has experienced dealing with charges of a serious nature. However, you have a choice about who you want to represent you. It is important to look at experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys who handle charges involving penalty enhancements, especially firearm enhancements.
These special enhancements can easily be missed by an inexperienced attorney or an attorney who does not regularly practice criminal defense law. When you are facing such a serious charge, it is important to have experienced and knowledgeable counsel on your side to make you aware of the facts and circumstances of your case and the consequences of any action you might take.