Firearm Crimes and Defenses

Virginia Gun Crime Defense Attorney

gun-charges-attorneyThere are a number of Virginia crimes you might be charged with that relate to Firearms. This area of criminal law is somewhat complex and changes frequently, and not all Virginia Defense Attorneys have experience dealing with gun charges. Our firm represents clients charged with various criminal offenses involving the use of firearms and other weapons under the various statutes that police use to prosecute these crimes. There are many defenses available, some based on Second Amendment case law and some based on recent Virginia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions. To defend anyone on accused of a firearm crime in Virginia, it is important not only to understand what the law is, but also how the Courts interpret that law.

Reckless Handling of a Firearm (Va. Code § 18.2-56.1)

This law says, in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.”  This crime is usually charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine.  But if the handling of the firearm causes injury to someone, then it might be charged as a Class 6 Felony.  If so, then the penalty could be up to five years in prison. When selecting a Defense Attorney to represent you on a charge of Reckless Handling of a Firearm, be sure to ask whether he or she has handled these cases before. Our firm has experience with Reckless Handling Firearm cases. A conviction under this section can also cause you to lose your hunting and fishing licenses, as well as your concealed carry permit and can prevent you from lawfully possessing a firearm in Virginia.

Willfully Discharging Firearms in Public Places (Va. Code § 18.2-280)

This law covers several different situations and locations where discharging a firearm, even if it is not done recklessly, is still unlawful. This includes firing a gun on any public street, public location, or place of public gathering. This is construed broadly, and essentially makes it illegal to discharge a firearm on any property that is not your own private property where the public is not invited to be present. However, this law does have an exception for self-defense.  However, asserting a claim of self-defense to a firearm charge is no easy task. You need an experienced Firearm Defense Attorney if you have been charged with this crime. This can be a Class 1 Misdemeanor which carries a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Or can be charged as a Felony with much greater consequences.

A few of the many other Virginia Firearm laws that prohibit possession, carry, or transportation of a firearm by: 1) a person who is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S., 2) a person convicted of any felony, 3) a person convicted of certain juvenile offenses at age 14 or older, 4) persons with certain drug offenses or combinations of drug offenses, 5) anyone who is subject to a protective order, 6) anyone under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, and 7) anyone in a liquor-serving establishment who is consuming any alcoholic beverage.

It is also illegal, under Va. Code § 18.2-286.1, to fire a gun from a vehicle.

Generally open carry of weapons is allowed in many places in Virginia, but this right is limited. Concealed Carry requires a permit, but there are exceptions and defenses to that rule for anyone charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon. If you or a friend have been charged with a Virginia Firearm offense, call an Attorney with experience in firearm cases.