Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Despite the protection that the Second Amendment affords gun owners, there are still consequences for those who violate existing firearm laws. Fairfax County gun penalties can be especially strict, and punitive. Furthermore, in gun cases, there is technical and specific information that the prosecution must prove to find somebody guilty that the defense needs to go through and focus on what each of the elements are that the prosecution needs to prove and what evidence exists to assert the prosecution’s claim. A capable gun attorney is going to know what to look for, how to break that apart, and how to start using that to build a robust defense.
Gun law violations are usually a felony and the average Fairfax gun penalties are harsh. There can be misdemeanor gun law penalties as well as felony charges. The majority of gun law offenses are charged as felonies and the consequences are severe, including mandatory prison time.
The factors that can change the penalties for gun law offenses are things like whether the person was a felon when they committed this offense, whether the person has a violent background, whether the person has been committed in the past, and whether the person was engaging in a violent crime when arrested for this particular offense. It is going to depend on who the person is, what the person’s criminal history is, what the nature of the offense at issue is, and the timing of it.
If somebody is a convicted a felon and had a gun conviction within the past five years that also had to do with guns or was a violent crime, the person is going to face a much more severe mandatory minimum sentence than somebody facing a first-time felony gun conviction but has nothing else on their record and it was a non-violent crime. It depends on the circumstances of each case and individual backgrounds.
There is no mandatory minimum for misdemeanor gun penalties in Fairfax. Some can be chargeable as a misdemeanor, which would mean that they could potentially have no jail time. There is usually a fine on misdemeanors, but there is no mandatory minimum. There is no mandatory minimum because of misdemeanor gun charges.
In a worst-case scenario situation, somebody who is charged as a previously convicted felon, had a crime involving violence within the past five years, and is charged with an egregious murder involving a gun, will be facing life if not something more serious. Gun charges can escalate, depending on what the underlying charge is.
Whenever there is a misdemeanor gun charge that does not have a mandatory minimum with it, there is no mandatory minimum. In a worst-case scenario situation, somebody who is charged as a previously convicted felon, had a crime involving violence within the past five years, and is charged with an egregious murder involving a gun, will be facing life if not something more serious. Gun charges can escalate, depending on what the underlying charge is.
The location where a person is found illegally possessing a firearm is relevant to the gun charges because if the individual is in a prohibited location, that can increase the severity of the charges they face. In situations where, for example, an individual discharges a firearm in a public place, like a school ground, it is going to be a Class 4 felony with certain exceptions. Otherwise, it would just be a Class 6 felony. It gets much more serious if the person is in that area.
If a person is discharging a firearm in a public place and somebody gets injured, it would be a Class 6 felony. That is going to be up to five years in prison, and it could be as low as a couple months in jail. It is up to the discretion of the jury, but it is going to be charged as a felony.
A Class 4 felony is going to have a mandatory minimum of two years. This includes situations where an individual discharges a firearm on a school property, for example, or one of these places where no one is allowed to be discharging firearms. The difference is going to be the amount of time the person spends in prison.
Additional penalties may apply, depending on the person’s background and on the underlying charge. If somebody is a convicted felon, they would get additional years in prison for a gun offense in the State of Virginia. If somebody injures somebody else, they discharge their firearm in a public place that is going to bump it up to a felony. It is going to give the additional felony level enhancement, whereas if they discharged it in a public place and nobody was injured that would be a misdemeanor.
It is always going to make things worse if somebody is injured and if somebody is a felon. Beyond that, there are small things that can be tweaked in each case that would be aggravating factors. The type of gun can change things a little bit as well as whether or not the gun was used in a commission of a crime and what that underlying crime was.
An attorney can help a person facing Virginia gun penalties because the attorney can help find out what is going on in the person’s case. The attorney will try to build a defense and look at the case to see whether or not there is enough evidence to convict somebody beyond a reasonable doubt.