Utah is often ranked as an ideal state for gun enthusiasts due to its comparatively relaxed firearms laws. However, there are still certain actions which can result in serious criminal charges, including the possession of a deadly weapon with criminal intent.
If you, your spouse, or one of your family members was arrested for possessing a deadly weapon in Salt Lake City or other areas of Utah, you are urged to contact a skilled and experienced Utah Ogden weapons possession attorney for immediate legal assistance. A conviction of this offense can result in months of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, as well as a criminal record. For a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 today.
When Can You Be Charged with Possessing a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon Under Utah Code 76-10-507?
Most of Utah’s criminal statutes are fairly dense and lengthy, which sometimes makes interpretation by defendants and their loved ones difficult. However, the statute which governs this particular offense, Utah Code § 76-10-507, is very short and plainly worded. The full and unabridged statute states the following:
“Every person having upon his [or her] person any dangerous weapon with intent to use it to commit a criminal offense is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”
However, even at this short length, some interpretation is still needed. What, for example, constitutes a “dangerous weapon”?
The answer can be found at Utah Code § 76-1-601(5), which supplies two definitions. Under this statute, a dangerous weapon is either of the following:
- “[A]ny item capable of causing death or serious bodily injury,” which could include a(n):
- Assault Weapon
- Fully Automatic Weapon
- Machine Gun
- Sawed-Off Shotgun
- Semi-Automatic Weapon
- Short-Barreled Rifle
- Any “facsimile or representation of the item” — in other words, a fake weapon or imitation weapon — if either of the following statements apply:
- The owner uses the item, or appears to intend to use the item, in a way that causes another person to “reasonably believe the item is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.”
- The owner indicates to another person that he or she is in control of a weapon.
While the name of the offense refers to deadly weapons, the body of the statute addresses dangerous weapons. The term “deadly weapon” is not defined under Utah Code § 76-1-601.
The second element of this offense is that the weapon’s owner had intent to use the weapon to aid in the commission of a crime. Examples of crimes in Utah that may involve the use of weapons include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Aggravated Assault (Utah Code § 76-5-103)
- Aggravated Burglary (Utah Code § 76-6-203)
- Aggravated Kidnapping (Utah Code § 76-5-302)
- Aggravated Robbery (Utah Code § 76-6-302
- Aggravated Sexual Assault (Utah Code § 76-5-405)
- Forcible Sodomy (Utah Code § 76-5-403)
- Object Rape (Utah Code § 76-5-402.2)
- Rape (Utah Code § 76-5-402)
- Theft, Theft of a Vehicle (Utah Code § 76-6-412)
Fines, Jail, and Other Penalties for Class A Misdemeanors in Utah
There are three types of misdemeanors in the state of Utah: Class C misdemeanors, which are the least serious, Class B misdemeanors, and Class A misdemeanors, which are the most serious. For greater context, any offense more serious than a Class A misdemeanor is classified as felony.
Possession of a deadly weapon with criminal intent is a Class A misdemeanor, placing this offense one step below a felony. The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor can be severe, and may include the following, depending on factors like the nature of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history:
- Up to one year in jail.
- A criminal fine of up to $2,500.
- Probation, during which the probationer must obey certain rules and report to a probation officer.
- Mandatory community service.
Furthermore, a class A misdemeanor will also result in the creation of a criminal record, which will remain permanently unless the offender is able to have the record sealed. Even then, the record will remain accessible to courts and law enforcement.
Get Legal Help from an Experienced Salt Lake Gun Possession Lawyer
It is absolutely imperative that you have the benefit of knowledgeable and experienced legal representation if you or a loved one has been accused of possessing a deadly weapon with criminal intent. As described above, these charges can have extremely damaging consequences for your finances, your reputation, and most of all, your liberty.
It isn’t easy to stand accused of a serious gun crime, but you won’t be going through the criminal justice system without support. Turn to Utah criminal attorney Darwin Overson, who brings over 16 years of experience working on thousands of cases to every legal matter he handles. Call Darwin right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.