If the Commonwealth of Virginia charges you with using or displaying a firearm in committing a felony, you may face multiple potential criminal convictions and felonies. You may receive one sentence for the felony, a separate sentence for using or displaying the firearm while you were committing the felony, and another sentence for any other weapons-related crimes or other crimes you allegedly committed.
You need to prepare strong defenses to all of the charges against you. You can start protecting yourself today by learning more about the crimes with which you have been charged and contacting an experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyer.
Does the Government Have a Case Against You Because You Had a Firearm?
According to Virginia Code §18.2-53.1, it is against the law for anyone to use or attempt to use a firearm while committing certain felonies. The Commonwealth must prove that you used, tried to use, or displayed a prohibited weapon while committing or trying to commit one of the felonies specifically included in the statute.
A firearm includes a pistol, shotgun, rifle, or another firearm. For purposes of this law, the alleged firearm must appear capable of firing. However, you may be convicted of the crime even if the firearm doesn’t work. The Commonwealth may use direct or circumstantial evidence to prove that you possessed a firearm and used or tried to use it.
It violates the law to use or attempt to use a firearm to commit or attempt to commit:
- Forcible sodomy
- Inanimate or animate object sexual penetration
- Malicious wounding
- Malicious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer
- Aggravated malicious wounding
- Malicious wounding by mob
You may be convicted of a felony for using or trying to use a firearm to commit any of the crimes listed above. However, you should not be convicted of the felony of using or attempting to use a firearm in the commission of a felony for a misdemeanor or any felony that is not listed above.
Potential Penalties for Using or Displaying a Firearm in Committing a Felony
The criminal sentence for violating Virginia Code §18.2-53.1 and using or attempting to use a firearm in the commission of one of the listed felonies includes mandatory prison time. According to the law, a person found guilty of this crime shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison term of three years for the first conviction and five years for a second or subsequent conviction.
The sentence for this crime is different from any sentence you receive for the primary felony or any other concurrent crime, and the sentence runs consecutively with any other sentences you receive.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
The felonies listed in Virginia Code §18.2-53.1 are serious crimes. You could face years in prison, financial penalties, and the lifelong effects of a criminal conviction if you are convicted of any of these crimes.
You could also face the penalties of additional felonies if the Commonwealth proves that you used or attempted to use a firearm in the commission of these felonies or if you committed another weapons-related crime or another crime.
You need help now. Our experienced criminal defense team will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case and prepare to defend you against all criminal charges. Together, we have decades of criminal defense experience in a wide variety of criminal matters, and we are ready to help you.
Criminal charges are scary. Not only do you face prison time and financial fines, but you also face potential housing, employment, and other long-term consequences from a criminal conviction.
We will provide you with an honest case assessment so that you know what to expect next, and we will fight hard to defend you against all charges.
Call us or complete our contact form today to have us contact you so that you can learn more about your possible defense.