Americans are guaranteed the right to buy, own, and possess guns and firearms. Gun violence and gun control have become hotly debated topics lately, but our right to own guns still stands. However, while the government recognizes a person’s right to own a gun, it also understands that guns are incredibly dangerous weapons that need regulations and restrictions. Most people can legally buy a gun with little problem. For a few, gun ownership may be out of reach and criminally charged.
Various kinds of people are restricted from owning or possessing a gun. In Utah and many other jurisdictions, people on probation are barred from owning, purchasing, possessing, or transferring a gun. This includes people on probation. If you are on probation, it is illegal for you to have a gun. If you are found with a gun or caught trying to purchase one, you may be criminally charged. However, even restricted people can be in lawful possession of a gun under specific, limited circumstances.
If you were caught with a gun while on probation, you may face very serious penalties, including felony charges. Call our Salt Lake City gun possession defense attorneys for assistance. You can schedule a free, private legal consultation with our team at Overson Law, PLLC. Call (801) 758-2287 to get help today.
Buying a Gun While on Probation in Utah
Restrictions on gun ownership and possession can be found under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-503. According to the law, there are many different ways a person may be restricted from gun ownership. Some of these restrictions are only temporary and will expire when the legal condition necessitating the restriction is over. However, other restrictions are permanent and prevent a person from ever owning or possessing a gun. Among these restrictions are people currently on probation.
The penalties for a restricted person having a gun or firearm can be quite serious. In many cases, you can be charged with a felony and possibly face years in prison. Your charges and penalties will depend on why you are restricted from having a gun. In general, people restricted because they were convicted of a serious crime, like a violent felony, will face harsher penalties than someone restricted for an offense committed as a juvenile.
The penalties for having a gun when you are restricted from doing so are harsh, but it is possible to defend yourself against those charges. For example, you may have been a restricted person in the past, but you believe that restriction has expired. Also, it is lawful for a restricted person to transfer their guns under certain conditions even though transferring firearms is legally forbidden. Call our Utah criminal defense attorneys to get help fighting your charges.
People Restricted from Owning or Purchasing a Gun in Utah
In Utah, there are two levels of gun restrictions. Each level has many different categories of people who are restricted, and a complete list of restricted persons can be found under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-503(1)(a)-(b). Level 1 includes people who are habitual violent offenders and have been convicted of several violent felonies. Level 1 also includes people on probation or parole, among others. Level 1 restricted persons are considered more serious and may be punished more severely if convicted of unlawfully possessing, buying, or transferring a weapon.
Level 2 restricted persons also include a long list of categories found in the statutes mentioned above. However, Level 2 is a bit less serious than Level 1 and includes anyone convicted of a felony, violent or non-violent, and people who were found guilty of a felony by reason of insanity or were mentally incompetent to stand trial.
If you were recently found guilty of a criminal offense and are unsure if your gun rights are restricted, our Park City criminal defense attorneys can provide guidance. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a gun as a restricted person, our team can help you understand and fight your charges.
Utah Penalties for Having a Gun While on Probation
The penalties for the unlawful possession, purchase, or transfer of a gun by a restricted person are no joke. Gun control and firearm safety are taken extremely seriously by law enforcement and legislators, so the penalties for these offenses are often very steep. In most cases, you can be charged with a felony simply for having a gun as a restricted person.
For people who are restricted, it is a crime to intentionally or knowingly purchase, transfer, possess, use, or otherwise have under their control a firearm. Level 1 restricted persons may be charged with a second-degree felony for such an offense. They may be charged with a third-degree felony if the crime involves a dangerous weapon that is not a firearm.
Level 2 restricted persons may be punished for the same offense, but they may face somewhat more lenient penalties because of their lesser restriction level. A Level 2 restricted person will be charged with a third-degree felony if their offense involves a gun. For offenses involving dangerous weapons that are not firearms, a Class A misdemeanor may be assessed.
In Utah, second-degree felonies come with punishments of at least 1 year in prison but up to 15 years. Third-degree felonies may be penalized by a prison term of no longer than 5 years. A Class A misdemeanor may be punished with a jail term of no longer than 364 days. Call our Utah gun crimes defense lawyers for assistance handling your case.
Defenses to Utah Criminal Charges for Having a Gun While on Probation
The ban on guns and firearms for restricted persons is very broad but not without its weak points. Depending on the nature of your case and charges, you might be able to defend yourself against these accusations and reduce or dismiss the charges.
One important element of these offenses is that the defendant must have committed them intentionally or knowingly. If a gun was found in your home or car but was placed there by a friend or acquaintance unbeknownst to you, you may have a valid defense.
It is also a crime to transfer a gun if you are a restricted person. This usually refers to selling or sharing weapons. However, exceptions are made for people who transfer guns because they are newly restricted and must get rid of their firearms. Our Provo criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges and hopefully avoid serious consequences.
Contact Our Utah Gun Crimes Defense Lawyers for Help
If you are facing charges for unlawfully possessing, buying, or transferring a gun as a gun-restricted person, our team could help. Contact our Utah St. George criminal defense lawyers to talk about your situation and figure out what to do next. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free consultation at Overson Law, PLLC today.