The laws surrounding weapons and firearms are very confusing, even at the best of times. While citizens of Utah and the rest of the United States have rights regarding weapons possession, weapons are also heavily restricted.
There are numerous kinds of weapons charges. Some offenses constitute separate charges that come with their own penalties. Other offenses can be upgraded if a weapon or firearm is involved. Common weapons charges often involve defendants who carry them without proper authorization. Your defense to weapons charges will vary based on the nature of the charges. In many cases, your attorneys can help you argue you had no criminal intent, your weapons were possessed legally, or the police seized the weapon without a warrant.
If you are charged with a weapons charge, you might be up against some serious penalties. Our Utah weapons charges lawyers can help you defend yourself and your rights. Call (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation with our team at Overson Law, PLLC.
Weapons Charges in Provo, UT
Weapons and firearms are heavily restricted, and many different criminal charges are associated with weapons. Many weapons charges are independent offenses that come with their own charges and penalties. In other cases, there is no separate weapons charge, but the presence of a weapon may cause existing charges to be upgraded. Our Utah weapons charges attorneys can help you figure out what kind of charges you face. Below of some common weapons charges in Utah.
For some, owning or possessing a weapon or firearm is simply out of the question. Under Utah Code § 76-10-503, people classified as Category I or II restricted persons are prohibited from having dangerous weapons and firearms. Our Utah weapons charges lawyers can help you figure out if you are a restricted person.
People may be classified as Category I restricted persons if they meet any of the following criteria:
- They were convicted of a violent felony.
- They are on probation or parole.
- Within the last 10 years, they were adjudicated as a juvenile for an offense that would have been a violent felony if committed by an adult.
- They are an alien illegally present in the United States.
- They are on probation for possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, controlled substance analog, or certain other substances.
Category II restricted persons are like Category I, but their reasons for being restricted are a bit less serious. For example, where Category I persons have committed a violent felony, a Category II person may have committed any felony, including non-violent ones. There are many criteria for Category II restricted persons, including dishonorable discharges from the military, being mentally incompetent to stand trial, renouncing your U.S. citizenship, and more.
A Category I restricted person in possession of a firearm can be charged with a second-degree felony and a third-degree felony for any other dangerous weapons. A Category II restricted person can be charged with a third-degree felony for having a firearm and a Class A misdemeanor for other dangerous weapons.
Utah has made it easier than most other states to legally carry a concealed firearm. According to Utah Code § 76-10-523(5), as long as you are at least 21 years old and are not legally restricted from owning or carrying a firearm, you may carry a concealed firearm without any trouble. It is also legal to carry a concealed firearm in your own home, in another’s home with the homeowner’s permission, or your car.
However, there are penalties for carrying a concealed firearm without a permit for those who are restricted from owning weapons or are under the age of 21. A person under the age of 21 should apply for a permit to carry a concealed firearm. A restricted person may not carry a firearm under any circumstances with or without a permit.
Under Utah Code § 76-10-504, a person under 21 who carries a concealed firearm without a permit, or who is otherwise unauthorized to carry a gun by law, may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The charges are upgraded to Class A misdemeanors if the firearm is loaded.
Certain kinds of firearms carry harsher penalties. If you carry a concealed short-barreled shotgun or rifle, you may be charged with a second-degree felony. Similarly, if you use a concealed firearm in the commission of a violent felony, you can be charged with a second-degree felony.
Possession With Criminal Intent
Many people have firearms and other weapons for legal purposes, such as protection or hunting. Other people are legally authorized to carry firearms, like law enforcement or people with proper permits. Even if your possession of a weapon or firearm is lawful, you can still be charged if you carry it with criminal intent.
According to Utah Code § 76-10-507, anyone with a dangerous weapon and the intent to use it in a criminal offense may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. The criminal offense need not be a serious or violent felony, but any offense, even minor misdemeanors.
If you are charged with a weapons-related crime, such the possession with criminal intent, our Utah weapons charges attorneys can help you explore your legal options and fight the charges.
Defenses to Weapons Charges in Provo, UT
Depending on your charges, there may be various defense options for your case. Our Utah weapons charges attorneys can go over your case with you and help you determine the best defense strategies. It is possible to fight the charges and get an acquittal or dismissal in some cases. In other cases, an acquittal or dismissal might not be possible, and the best defense possible might instead consist of reducing your charges and penalties.
Did you lawfully possess the weapons in question? Many criminal charges are based on the defendant’s lack of a proper permit or authorization to have the weapon or firearm, at least for defendants under the age of 21. Those 21 and older may carry a concealed firearm without the need for a permit. If you have such authorization or were legally exempt from such authorization, we can use that information to fight your charges.
Other times, the prosecutor must prove you intended to use the weapon in a crime. Intent is often tricky for prosecutors to prove as there is usually no real or physical evidence. We can work to disprove criminal intent by showing you did not actually commit a crime and that you had the weapon for a lawful purpose.
In many cases, we do not even have to argue about intent or whether the weapon was lawfully possessed. If the police seized the weapon without a warrant or valid exception to the warrant rule, the weapon can and should be suppressed. Suppressed evidence is prohibited from being introduced at trial. Without the gun, prosecutors have a very weak case and may be persuaded to drop the charges or negotiate a favorable plea bargain.
Call Our Provo, UT Weapons Charges Lawyers
If you or someone you love is charged with a weapons offense, our Utah weapons charges attorneys can help you determine your best defense. Call (801) 758-2287 for a free case review with our attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC.