Gun Charges in Virginia
Common Gun Crimes in Virginia
In Virginia, gun charges are common. There are over 30 gun offenses in Virginia. If you possess a gun in certain places you may face gun charges. Also, if you suffer from specific legal disabilities, some people can run afoul of Virginia’s gun laws unwittingly. Common Gun offenses are:
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Under Virginia Law § 18.2-308, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. A concealed weapon encompasses a pistol, switchblade, brass knuckles, and other specified weapons. Even with a concealed handgun permit, carrying knives or other weapons concealed can result in a violation of this law. Carrying a concealed weapon is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment can be up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Brandishing a firearm.
Virginia Law § 18.2-282 makes it a Class 1 Misdemeanor to brandish a firearm. Brandishing occurs when you unlawfully point, hold, or brandish a firearm at another person. However, The manner of brandishing must induce fear in the mind of another. Additionally, if this violation occurs on the property of any public, private, or religious school, it is a Class 6 felony.
Possession of firearm after a felony conviction.
Virginia Law prohibits a person who is a felon from possessing a firearm. If a conviction results, it is a Class 6 Felony. However, even if the gun is in your car or home, you can face this charge if the gun is under your control. Courts view the facts surrounding the offense in determining if the gun was under your control. The court will look at the gun’s proximity to you and your ability to exercise control or dominion over it. A Class 6 felony is punishable by one to five years in prison.
Possession of a firearm on school property.
Any person who possesses a stun weapon, knife (except for a pocket knife with a folding blade of fewer than three inches), stun gun, or other weapons other than a firearm on the property of any school commits a Class 1 Misdemeanor under Virginia Code § 18.2-308.1 . Possession of a firearm under this law on school property is a Class 6 felony to possess any firearm on such property.
Possession of a firearm with possession of drugs.
Possessing a gun and a schedule I or II drugs is illegal under Virginia Code § 18.2-308.4. Therefore, a violation of this law is a Class 6 felony. The penalty increases to a two-year mandatory minimum if the person charged with having the firearm “on or about his person” while possessing drugs.
Displaying a firearm while committing a felony.
Virginia Code § 18.2-53.1 makes it unlawful to use, attempt to use, or display a rifle, pistol, shotgun, or another firearm in the commission of certain serious felonies, such as rape, forcible sodomy, murder, robbery, carjacking, burglary, or malicious wounding. Because this is a separate and distinct crime, it carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison for a first offense and five years for a second or subsequent offense. The sentences also run consecutively with the penalty for the primary felony.
Discharging a gun in a building.
It is a Class 4 felony under Virginia Code § 18.2-279 to discharge a firearm in a building that is occupied. However, this section requires malice. If death occurs, the offense is murder in the first or second degree depending on the intent of the shooter. If there was no malice in the discharge and there was no fatality, a person may be charged with a Class 6 felony. However, if a fatality results from such a firearm discharge, which was done unlawfully but not maliciously, the person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Are you facing gun charges? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will explain what may happen in your case and how we can help you to build a strong defense. To learn more, schedule a free consultation.