Penalty Enhancements Involving Firearms in Fairfax 

Being charged with a crime is hard enough but the presence and/or involvement of a gun, can take regular charges and exacerbate them. The increased severity of criminal charges is often referred to as penalty enhancements, which are the aggravating factors in a case.

Penalty enhancements involving firearms in Fairfax include whether or not a person is a felon, what their criminal history is when their most recent conviction was, and what that was for, what was happening in their case, was somebody injured, and how serious is the offense that they are being charged with. All these factors can increase the severity of someone’s penalty. A capable gun attorney can help mitigate potential penalties that you may face.

Sentencing Guidelines

A person can qualify for an enhancement of their sentence if there is a firearm involved. As far as when the judge is supposed to look at it or when the judge is told to look at it in terms of sentencing guidelines, if there is a gun involved, it is part of the sentencing guidelines. When an attorney is looking at what the sentence should be in a felony case, they consult the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines. These sentencing guidelines have different sections, depending on what type of charge an individual is facing or what they were convicted. Within each section, there are different categories and almost all of the categories have a section that gives an individual more points.

The guidelines make it clear that penalty enhancements are necessary if someone is caught with firearms while committing a crime. As far as that playing in, everything that is a felony could potentially be made worse by a gun crime. For misdemeanors, even if they do not have sentencing guidelines, judges look at whether or not a gun is involved. If a gun is involved and it is not one of the tamer charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm in a public place, some kind of hunting accident, or concealed carry, usually it is going to be some type of felony offense. Misdemeanors are considered serious because of the fact that they have a gun involved. The presence of a gun in any kind of crime makes judges pause when they go to the defendant. Even if they are not required to consider it in any situation, they will look at that and give a harsher sentence, because a gun is involved and guns are considered deadly weapons.

Examples of Penalty Enhancements

One example of how penalty enhancements involving a firearm in Fairfax County, can add to the severity of someone’s sentence is when a convicted felon is caught with a firearm. Someone who is charged with possession of a firearm and had a prior felony conviction for a crime of violence within the last 10 years, is going to have a mandatory minimum of five years if in possession of a firearm.  That is different than somebody who is just caught with a gun they should not have but is not a felon. That is also different than a convicted felon committing a crime that does not involve a firearm or, a non-violent crime.

Available Defenses in Case of Aggravating Factors

The defense for these kinds of technical statutes depends entirely on the details and circumstances of the case in question. For example, if a person is facing a charge for gun possession, but then the defense finds out the gun has been illegally modified, it is a separate charge that will get added on. There is probably going to be another charge and because of that, the defenses are going to change depending on what the other aspects of the case are.

In the example where an individual has a gun and is also being charged with illegal modification of a gun, the defense to that would be that this gun is not modified in a way that is proscribed by the Virginia statute. There are very technical modifications for some of these things that a person is not allowed to have. If an individual adds chambers so it shoots more ammunition at once, that is not going to be allowed. If the individual makes it into a certain length that length is going to be described by Virginia statutes, because it is written in there. If an individual illegally puts a silencer on it, that is going to be a problem under Virginia law. It depends on what aspect it is that requires penalty enhancements involving firearms defense in Fairfax.

Building a Coherent Defense

A local gun attorney will be more than familiar with Fairfax policies, especially with regards to how guns can add to a charge. There are a lot of nuances when it comes to penalty enhancements involving firearms in Fairfax. Working with an experienced lawyer is one way to assure that you are in the hands of someone who understands what is at stake, and has dealt with sentencing guidelines and penalty enhancements before. Contact an attorney who can start working to mitigate the penalties you face.

Somebody facing multiple charges or aggravating factors should hire an attorney because it is a complicated situation to face alone. The law is complex, specifically around guns as an aggravating factor, guns as an enhanced penalty, or any situation related to guns.

The language is technical in each of the statutes that if somebody is not an attorney and not used to dealing with the readings of the statute to determine whether or not the specific crime fits into this statute, they are not going to be able to defend against it despite the fact that they may have strong evidence against what they are being accused of in the statute. Without a qualified lawyer, a person might plead to something, take a plea agreement, or allow themselves to be convicted of something they are not guilty of because they did not have the legal knowledge, background, and experience to provide a robust defense.

Understanding and navigating the complexities of the legal system require years of experience, which a skilled attorney will bring with them. The strength of a lawyer comes into play in that attorneys can parse through a situation, pull apart any relevant statutes, and show that the accused is not technically violating the law, or that their behavior is not against the law. This is the strongest way to build a penalty enhancements involving firearms defense in Fairfax County.

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