While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, understanding possession by a felon charges in Virginia may be critical for you to avoid facing additional problems with the law. This article delves into several essential aspects:
- How Virginia defines a weapon.
- The penalties associated with violating these laws.
- Potential legal defense approaches you may consider in your case.
What Are The Consequences For A Felon In Virginia Found In Possession Of A Weapon?
The penalties for possession by a felon charges in Virginia vary depending on the specific circumstances. If a convicted felon is found possessing a firearm, there is a mandatory two-year penalty. However, if the felon has a previous conviction for a nonviolent felony or a violent felony, the penalty increases to a mandatory minimum of five years. On the other hand, if a felon possesses concealed weapons such as a knife, nunchucks, or throwing stars, it is classified as a Class Six felony without any mandatory minimum time. A Class Six felony carries a penalty range of one to five years.
How Does Virginia Define “Weapon” When It Comes To Possession By A Felon?
In Virginia, the possession of various weapons is regulated. These weapons include…
- Bowie knives,
- Throwing stars, and
- Other various types of knives.
These weapons encompass the primary types of weapons addressed under Virginia law.
What Are The Penalties For A Convicted Felony Caught Carrying A Concealed Weapon In Virginia?
A felon found carrying a firearm in Virginia faces a mandatory two-year penalty. If the felon has a previous conviction for a non-violent felony or a violent felony, the penalty increases to a mandatory five years.
On the other hand, if a felon is discovered possessing a concealed knife, they would be charged with a Class Six felony, which carries a potential sentence of one to five years, without any mandatory time. Similarly, if a felon is found with a knife, nun-chucks, or throwing stars, it would also be considered a Class Six felony. It’s important to note that a felon possessing a stun gun is also prohibited and carries a Class Six felony charge.
What Factors Can Enhance The Severity Of Weapon Charges In Virginia?
The distinction between nonviolent and violent felonies is rather significant when weapons possession is in question. In Virginia, the type of weapon involved can influence the severity of the penalty for possession and these regulations are not necessarily exclusively limited to felons; anyone possessing a machine gun or an offensive/aggressive weapon would face a felony charge.
This offense is classified as a Class Four felony, carrying a penalty of two years to 10 years. Similarly, possessing a sawed-off shotgun, which is defined as a shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, is also a Class Four felony, punishable by two years to 10 years.
What Defenses Are Available For Individuals Facing Weapon Charges In Virginia?
Several defenses can be utilized in weapons possession cases. One common defense is challenging the notion of possession itself. If it can be argued that the person charged did not actually possess the weapon, it can serve as a strong defense. Additionally, if there were multiple people in the vicinity, like in a car, for example, and it is unclear to whom the weapon should be attributed, it can further bolster the defense.
If the police officer did not recover the actual weapon but only observed what they believed to be a gun, for example, this will serve the defense well. This is because, in such cases, there can be issues in determining whether the object in question actually qualifies as a firearm under Virginia law.
According to the Virginia code section, a firearm is defined as an object designed to expel a projectile, which helps differentiate it from items like BB guns or air pistols. Therefore, if the firearm believed to have been observed was not actually recovered and did not meet the definition of a firearm according to the Virginia code, it can quickly erode the prosecution’s case.
Can The Second Amendment Protect Individuals Facing Weapon Charges In Virginia?
In general, the Second Amendment does not serve as a valid defense in weapons possession cases. The focus of criminal code sections related to weapons possession is on specific individuals prohibited from possessing firearms, such as felons, or on certain classes of firearms considered particularly dangerous.
The prohibition is not based on the Second Amendment right to bear arms but rather on specific laws and regulations governing who can possess firearms and under what circumstances. Therefore, asserting the Second Amendment as a defense would not be applicable or valid in possession by a felon charges in Virginia.
For more information on Possession By A Felon Charges In Virginia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (804) 621-0854 today.