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Weapons Charges

Weapons charge is a broad category of criminal offenses. A person may be guilty if he is carrying a weapon or using a weapon. The punishment for such crime also varies. Depending on whether the person is a repeated offender and why the weapons charge is implemented, the punishment may be as severe as jail time.

What Is a Weapons Charge?

A weapons charge is a set of criminal charges that involves weapons. It is separated into two categories – possession and use.

Under the possession category, a defendant can be found guilty if he possesses a forbidden weapon such a prohibited assault weapon. It does not matter if he did not threaten anyone or show anyone the weapon, as mere possession is enough to find guilt. Due to public policy concerns, many states forbid individuals from possessing short barrel shot guns, some types of pepper sprays, brass knuckles, and switchblade knives. Moreover, some individuals with court orders may be forbidden from possessing any weapons, even handguns.

Under the use category, a defendant can be found guilty if he uses a weapon during the commission of a crime. As a result, the defendant may be found guilty of a more serious version of the crime he initially intended to commit. Additionally, the defendant does not need to use the weapon to injure the victim. So long as the defendant displays the weapon, and he successfully frightens or intimidates the victims, then the defendant may be charged and convicted.

For example, if a defendant merely hits a person with his bare hands during a bar fight, he may be charged with battery. However, if the same defendant hits the person with a handgun instead, he may be charge with aggregated battery, which carries a higher sentencing rate.

What Are My Defenses to a Weapons Charge?

The defense to a weapons possession charge is merely that the defendant was not in possession.

The defense to a weapons use charge is that the weapon was not illegal. If the defenses do not succeed, then the defendant is looking to face additional punishment, which may be one to two years of added jail time.

Consulting an Attorney

If you are facing a weapons charge, please consult a criminal defense attorney. A well-versed attorney can help defend your case and reduce your sentencing.

Photo of page author Mabel Yee

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-04-2018 09:00 PM PDT

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