Virginia Beach gun crime lawyer Patricia Hardt, Esq. represents people charged with firearms and other weapons offenses. If you or a loved one is facing a gun or other charge in Virginia, Attorney Patricia Hardt can help. Attorney Hardt can draw upon her vast experience defending people accused of gun crimes in Virginia to defend you against a government that is seeking to incarcerate you for a very long period of time. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution arguably protects your right to possess a firearm for self-defense, there are many exceptions to that general rule. States, such as Virginia, are allowed to make rules relative to gun possession in an effort to ensure the safety of its citizens.
Under Virginia law, a firearm is a device that was made for the purpose of discharging a bullet using an explosion. That is a broad definition which conceivably encompasses many different items. The term firearm includes a handgun such as a semi-automatic pistol or revolver, rifle, and shotgun.
Many other weapons are prohibited under Virginia law. Items such as nunchucks and certain knives are defined as unlawful weapons and are banned in Virginia.
Virginia has a concealed carry law. A person with no criminal record may carry a firearm openly if they are 21 years-of-age or older. A person must obtain a concealed carry permit before carrying a weapon in secrecy. The law does not apply to someone who is in their home or their place of business. A violation of the concealed carry law is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are punished more harshly.
Many people are prohibited from carrying a firearm. For example, felons and drug-involved people cannot possess, carry, or transport a firearm. Felons in possession—who could also face federal charges under the Armed Career Criminal Act–may be punished by imprisonment of any length of time between one and five years or jail for no less than 12 months. Unless the violation was for certain enumerated violent felonies, then the punishment must start with a five-year mandatory sentence. Virginia law has a lengthy list of crimes that qualify as violent felonies.
Defenses To Firearms Crimes
A person charged with firearms and other weapons offenses can defend in primarily two ways. The first is to argue that the Commonwealth cannot prove possession. The second is to argue the police violated your constitutional rights under the federal and state constitutions, requiring suppression of the evidence.
Possession may take one of two forms. One is actual possession as when you physically have the item on your person and under your control. The other is constructive possession. Constructive possession means that a person can take control of an item that is not in your immediate grasp. For example, you have possession of your car when you park it in your parking spot even when you are not in it.
Defending against actual possession is difficult. One can challenge the credibility of the police officers who claim they found the weapon and if the jury does not believe the police, then you could be acquitted. Constructive possession requires proof that the person knew the weapon was there and intended exercise dominion and control over it. Proximity to the item is not enough to prove constructive possession.
Rely On The Zealous Advocacy Of Patricia Hardt If You Are Facing A Weapons Crime In Virginia
Virginia Beach gun crime attorney Patricia Hardt, Esq. promises to represent your best interests to the fullest extent. You can rely on her integrity and years of successful criminal defense work to explore every possible defense for you and strive to protect your rights as you face these serious allegations. Call Attorney Hardt today at 757-962-5588 to schedule a case review.