The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to own and carry a firearm, subject to certain limitations.
Nevertheless, certain qualifications and limitations prevent millions of Americans from owning a gun. In Ohio, these are referred to as disabling conditions.
Ohio law restricts the possession of a gun when a disabling condition, or disability, exists on the part of the possessor. So what does having weapons while under disability mean? It means the defendant possessed a weapon, despite being prohibited from doing so.
Ohio Law: Having Weapons Under Disability
Ohio law criminalizes having a firearm for individuals who:
- Are fugitives from justice;
- Were charged or convicted of a violent felony offense;
- Were charged or convicted of a felony drug offense that involved illegal drug possession, sale, distribution, or trafficking;
- Are dependent on drugs or in danger of being dependent on drugs;
- Are chronic alcoholics;
- Are mentally incompetent, mentally defective, or mentally ill, as determined by the court; or
- Were ordered to live at a mental institution by the court.
The offense of having a weapon under disability is commonly referred to as “WUD.” Firearm refers to any gun, whether loaded, unloaded, or temporarily inoperable.
Punishment for Weapons Under Disability Charge in Ohio
After determining the meaning of WUD, you could be wondering how much jail time you’re facing for a weapons under disability charge in Ohio.
Ohio considers a WUD charge a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony carries potential penalties including:
- Up to five years in prison; and
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
In addition to criminal penalties, individuals convicted of WUD can face difficulty finding employment and housing due to the felony conviction.
Defenses to Having a Weapon Under Disability
Certain legal defenses absolve defendants charged with WUD of liability, resulting in the dismissal of charges or a not guilty verdict. Common defenses to WUD include:
- The defendant was unaware that the gun was in his or her possession;
- The defendant was en route to a police station to turn the firearm in;
- The firearm was used in self-defense; and
- The firearm was located during an illegal search and seizure.
The existence of any of these legal defenses presents an opportunity for a criminal defense lawyer to argue that you should not face charges.
Contact an Experienced Ohio Criminal Defense Today
Weapons charges result in stiff fines and jail time in most circumstances. A weapons charge attorney with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, will review the facts of your case to evaluate the full picture of the charges against you. With more than 50 years of collective experience, our team is more than qualified to defend you against a weapons under disability charge.
We know that no two cases are the same, so we take the time to sit down one-on-one with our clients, listen to their situation and desired outcome, and tailor a plan to address those concerns. If you want to discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call our office at 937-222-1515.