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Virginia Weapon and Firearm Laws
Although, the 2nd amendment of our Constitution allows for the bearing of arms; weapons, and more specifically firearms, are considered inherently dangerous by law and by the courts in Virginia. As such, almost all events involving a gun, from purchase, to possession to discharge, can result in criminal charges. In addition, although some of these offenses are treated as a misdemeanor, many are classified as a felony.
Possession of a Firearm Crimes
There are certain groups of people by law that are forbidden to possess firearms, such as guns, rifles and the such. These groups include, felons, illegal aliens, those with prior adjudication of mental capacity and minors (exceptions allowed) to name a few.
For the rest of the population that comes under the general protection of the 2nd amendment, offenses can still be brought when one allegedly tries: to own a prohibited weapon such as a machine gun, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or bringing such object into restricted areas like churches or on school property.
Defense of Possession Offenses
The important thing to remember is that the Commonwealth carries the burden of proof and that every element of a criminal charge must be proven. Possible defenses to possession may result from the following questions:
Did the law enforcement officer have a right to to interact with you (example, where you driving and got pulled over illegally?)
Did the officer have a right to do a pat down or to search your private property (which triggers various constitutional protections)?
Can the Commonwealth prove the mens rea (i.e. the mental state) element of knowledge or intent which is often required to prove a crime involving possession?
Because possession statutes can vary and hence have there own individual elements, it is pertinent that you speak to an experienced attorney about your particular charge. Give us a call and find out why we are known for our zealous defense of our clients’ interests.