Crimes involving the illegal possession or use of firearms and other weapons are particularly harsh in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. These crimes often involve what are called mandatory minimum jail sentences. Whenever a person is convicted of a crime with a mandatory minimum prison sentence, the accused must serve 100% of the mandatory minimum.
Neither the judge nor the jury can do anything to reduce such a sentence. Therefore, it is extremely important that firearms and weapons charges are taken very seriously from the start. If you have been arrested for a firearms offense in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Manikas Law LLC.
Gun, Firearm, and Weapon Crimes in Virginia
In Virginia, you may be charged with many different crimes associated with guns, firearms, and weapons. They include the following:
- Use or display of firearm in committing felony (Va. Code 18.2-53.1)
- Reckless handling of firearms; reckless handling while hunting (Va. Code 18.2-56.1)
- Allowing access to firearms by children (Va. Code 18.2-56.2)
- Receipt of stolen firearm (Va. Code 18.2-108.1)
- Shooting at or throwing missiles, etc., at train, car, vessel, etc. (Va. Code 18.2-154)
- Discharging firearms or missiles within or at building or dwelling house (Va. Code 18.2-279)
- Willfully discharging firearms in public places (Va. Code 18.2-280)
- Setting spring gun or other deadly weapon (Va. Code 18.2-281)
- Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas-operated weapon or objects (Va. Code 18.2-282)
- Selling or giving toy firearms (Va. Code 18.2-284)
- Hunting with firearms while under influence of intoxicant or narcotic drug (Va. Code 18.2-285)
- Shooting in or across road or in street (Va. Code 18.2-286)
- Shooting from vehicles so as to endanger persons; penalty (Va. Code 18.2-286.1)
- Carrying weapon in air carrier or airport terminal (Va. Code 18.2-287.01)
- Wearing of body armor while committing a crime (Va. Code 18.2-287.2)
- Personal protection; carrying concealed weapons (Va. Code 18.2-308)
- Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited (Va. Code 18.2-308.1)
- Possession or transportation of firearms by persons acquitted by reason of insanity (Va. Code 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2, 18.2-308.1:3)
- Purchase or transportation of firearm by persons subject to protective orders or convicted of drug offenses (Va. Code 18.2-308.1:4, 18.2-308.1:5)
- Possession or transportation of firearms, stun weapons, explosives or concealed weapons by persons convicted of a felony ("felon in possession") (Va. Code 18.2-308.2)
- Possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons (Va. Code 18.2-308.2:01, 18.2-308.2:1)
- Use or attempted use of restricted ammunition in commission or attempted commission of crimes (Va. Code 18.2-308.3)
- Possession of firearms while in possession of certain controlled substances/drugs (Va. Code 18.2-308.4)
- Manufacture, import, sale, transfer or possession of plastic firearm (Va. Code 18.2-308.5)
- Possession of unregistered firearm mufflers or silencers (Va. Code 18.2-308.6)
- Possession or transportation of certain firearms by persons under the age of 18 (Va. Code 18.2-308.7)
- Removing, altering, etc., serial number or other identification on firearm (Va. Code 18.2-311.1)
- Third conviction of firearm offenses (Va. Code 18.2-311.2)
- Possession or use of "sawed-off" shotgun or rifle (Va. Code 18.2-300)
- Carrying loaded firearms in public areas prohibited (Va. Code 18.2-287.4)
- Importation, sale, possession or transfer of Striker 12's / Streetsweepers prohibited (Va. Code 18.2-308.8)
There is a broad definition of weapons, which may include:
- Pistol, revolver, rifle, or other gun
- Dirk, Bowie knife, switchblade knife, or ballistic knife
- Spring stick
- Metal knucks
- Nun chahka, nun chucks, or nunchaku
- Fighting chain
- Throwing disc, throwing star, or oriental dart
Importance of Experts When Facing Firearm Charges
These charges often involve some of the similar legal issues as drug possession cases. Moreover, many firearms charges require the prosecution prove the firearm was operational. This proof is usually obtained by having the gun, pistol, revolver, or rifle examined by an expert at the state lab.
Accordingly, it's critical that your defense attorney understand how this testing is accomplished and the potential problems with such an analysis that can be exploited at trial. In certain cases, it can be beneficial for the accused to obtain an analysis from his or her expert. Your attorney should have a network of qualified experts who he can retain to help both with testing and attacking the findings of the expert for the prosecution.
Contact an Experienced Fairfax County and Northern Virginia Firearms and Weapons Criminal Defense Attorney
The loss of freedom and other consequences that result from a firearms or weapons conviction can be staggering. Given what's at stake, you must be sure that any attorney you hire has the judgment, skill, and reputation to obtain the best possible resolution of the matter.
If you've been arrested for any form of firearms or weapons offense, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Manikas Law, LLC.