Stun Gun Laws in Utah
Stun guns and tasers are electronic devices designed to immobilize or stun someone with an intense electric shock. A stun gun can emit electric shocks of several thousand or even tens of thousands of volts. However, stun guns are meant to incapacitate a person, not kill them. In Utah, stun guns are legal to own and carry without any major restrictions. However, that does not mean that stun guns are totally unrestricted.
Owning a stun gun or taser is legal and very easy compared to traditional firearms. Firearms like handguns or shotguns typically require background checks and special permits before an ordinary citizen may purchase one. Stun guns are not subject to such restrictions, and you can own and carry a stun gun without a permit. However, stun guns and tasers are considered dangerous weapons, and certain people might be restricted from having them.
Stun guns are not the same as guns or other firearms, and criminal charges are often less severe. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys can help you fight any criminal charges related to your stun gun. The team at Overson Law, PLLC is experienced in handling firearms and weapons charges. Call us at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation.
What Are Utah’s Laws for Stun Guns?
It is important to understand that a stun gun is not a “gun” in the traditional sense. Guns and similar firearms expel bullets and projectiles and are capable of causing serious bodily harm and death. A stun gun does not expel any bullets or projectiles. Instead, a stun gun emits electric shocks designed to incapacitate or stun a person. A taser, on the other hand, may be used from a range and shoots projectile darts that deliver an electric shock. The darts shoot out from the taser, puncture the skin, and deliver a strong shock.
Stun guns and tasers are generally legal without much restriction on purchase or ownership. In fact, unlike guns and firearms, stun guns do not require permits or background checks to be purchased. Even though stun guns are far less restricted than ordinary guns and firearms, they are still subject to some regulation as dangerous weapons. Our Park City criminal defense attorneys are prepared to assist if you face criminal charges related to a stun gun.
A stun gun or taser might be considered a “dangerous weapon” under Utah Code § 76-10-501. According to the law, a dangerous weapon can produce serious bodily harm or death when used in its intended manner. Stun guns are designed to produce bodily harm in others as a means of defending ourselves. Stun guns were also recognized as dangerous weapons in the case of United States v. Wallace. The case was heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers Utah. The court in Wallace determined that a stun gun is considered a “dangerous weapon” under the law and may be subject to certain criminal charges.
Criminal Charges Related to Stun Guns in Utah
While stun guns and tasers may be purchased and carried without a background check or special permit, there are restrictions placed on certain individuals similar to restrictions for ordinary guns. Under Utah Code § 76-10-503, restrictions on owning firearms and dangerous weapons are placed on two categories of people. If you find yourself criminally charged for possessing or using a stun gun or taser, our Logan criminal defense attorneys can help.
First, a Category I restriction person is someone who meets the following criteria:
- Has a conviction for a violent felony
- Is currently on probation or parole for any felony
- Is currently on parole from secure care
- Was adjudicated delinquent within the past 10 years for an offense that would be considered a felony if committed by an adult
- Is illegally present in the United States
- Is currently on probation for possessing a Schedule I or II controlled substance, controlled substance analog, pr certain other specific substances
A Category II restricted person includes anyone who meets one of the following conditions:
- Has a conviction for any felony
- Was adjudicated delinquent in the last 7 years for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult
- Is an illegal user of a controlled substance
- Possesses a dangerous weapon while knowingly and illegally possessing a Schedule I or II controlled substance
- Was found not guilty of a felony by reason of insanity
- Was found mentally incompetent to stand trial for a felony
- Was adjudicated mentally defective
- Received a dishonorable discharge from the military
- Renounced their U.S. citizenship
- Is subject to a protective order
- Has been convicted of assault, aggravated assault, or attempted assault against a partner, family member, or cohabitant
If a Category I restricted person purchases, transfers, possesses, or uses a dangerous weapon, they may be guilty of a third-degree felony in Utah. A third-degree felony may be punishable by a state prison term of no longer than 5 years. If a Category II restricted person violates the same law, they are subject to somewhat less severe penalties. A category II restricted person may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and sentenced to no more than 364 days in jail.
Defenses to Criminal Stun Gun Charges in Utah
Defenses to criminal charges related to stun guns and tasers may be similar to those related to firearms and ordinary guns. The rules preventing Categories I and II restricted people from owning and using stun guns are the same as normal guns. One approach is to reexamine the reasons you are considered a restricted person. It is possible that you should not be restricted or the reasons for your restriction are no longer relevant.
Some reasons for restriction are time-sensitive, like requiring a person to be adjudicated delinquent for certain offenses within the past 7 or 10 years. If you were adjudicated more than 7 or 10 years ago, we can argue you should no longer be a restricted person.
We can also argue your knowledge of the stun gun or taser. In most cases, a defendant must knowingly have the stun gun. Perhaps someone else stashed their stun gun in your house or car without telling you. Maybe your spouse bought a stun gun without telling you, and you never knew it was kept in the house. Whatever the case may be, our Murray criminal defense lawyers are prepared to put up the best defense possible.
Call Our Utah Stun Gun Defense Attorneys
While stun guns and tasers are legally treated differently than standard firearms or guns, there are still a few important restrictions to be aware of. Our Riverton criminal defense lawyers can help you fight any criminal charges related to stun guns. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review.