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A weapons charge is considered to be any crime revolving around the illegal possession, use, sale, or distribution of a firearm or other object or device that could be classified as a weapon.
Crimes involving weapons are serious in this state and can be prosecuted severely depending on the offense.
Although more minor offenses involving weapons amount to a misdemeanor, most weapons violations are a felony charge and will result in imprisonment.
In extreme cases, federal law can step in depending on the weapon and the circumstances involved.
Some types of crimes involving weapons could include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon,
- Discharging a weapon illegally,
- Unlawful sale or distribution of a weapon,
- Assault with a weapon,
- Using a weapon in a robbery or other criminal act,
- Unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon, and
- Possession of a weapon specifically restricted by law.
When police file weapons charges, the issue can become complex and should get reviewed by a Dayton criminal defense attorney who can interpret the charges compared to the law and guide you accordingly.
The language of the law concerning weapons is severe as is the execution of those laws. Pursue representation from the top criminal attorney in Dayton to assist you in your weapons charges case.
What Are Some Defenses to a Weapons Charge?
An experienced weapons charge defense attorney from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, will use their knowledge, skill, and experience to give you a solid defense.
One common defense you might use lies in the rights found in the U.S. Constitution, namely, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Motion to Suppress
If there’s any evidence that the police violated your rights at any point, your weapons charge attorney could argue that the judge should throw out all evidence the police seized in violation of those rights.
For example, if the police illegally stopped you, then searched your car and found a weapon, your lawyer will likely file a motion to suppress.
In such a motion, you’ll argue that the stop was illegal, so all evidence gathered from that illegal stop is fruit of the poisonous tree (the illegal stop) and should be excluded from evidence.
Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause
The police cannot act on a hunch to pull you over and search your car. They need reasonable suspicion that you have or are committing a crime based on evidence.
If they do not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, then the police violated your rights. If the prosecution fails to prove the police acted properly, the judge must throw out the evidence.
The police also have to follow similar rules when requesting a search warrant from a judge.
The Constitution states that no warrant can be issued except when supported by probable cause—an even higher standard than reasonable suspicion.
Probable cause means that the police have information that indicates they will find evidence of a crime in the place they want to search.
Successfully arguing that the police did not have probable cause to search your home could help you beat your charges.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can examine your case to see if you qualify for this type of defense.
What Happens If the Police Cannot Prove the Weapon Is Yours?
Your weapons charge lawyer can explain that there are two types of legal “possession.” One type is “actual possession.” Actual possession means physically holding an item or having it on your person.
For example, you have actual possession of your car keys when you leave them in your jacket pocket and hang it in your closet.
The other type is called “constructive possession.” A court can find that you had constructive possession of an item if you have knowledge of an object and have the intention and ability to exercise control over it.
For instance, you have constructive possession of your car keys when you leave them in your jacket pocket after you take your jacket off and put it in your closet.
How Does This Apply to Weapons Charges?
The prosecutor has to prove you had possession of a weapon. But, you could defend your case successfully if they do not have evidence of possession.
For instance, suppose you are in a car with three other people, and the police find a gun under the front passenger seat.
Unless they saw you put it there, the prosecution might have difficulty proving you possessed it. You did not have actual possession because it was not on your person.
They’d have to prove constructive possession, but they’d have to prove that you knew it was there and had the ability and intent to exercise control over it.
That can be tough to prove and might mean you get found not guilty.
Contact an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are convicted of a weapons charge, it is almost certain that you will face imprisonment and stiff fines.
Because crimes involving weapons can cause extreme damage, the prosecution is likely to seek the most severe penalties possible.
A weapons charge defense lawyer at Gounaris Abboud, LPA will review the circumstances leading up to your arrest in order to fully assess the charges being brought against you.
It is important to contact us at 937-222-1515 shortly after your arrest in order for us to help ensure your rights are not being violated.
Strategizing a defense early in the investigation may maximize your chances of a more favorable outcome.
If Dayton police cite you with a weapons charge, get legal representation and Contact a Dayton criminal defense lawyer immediately.