Gun Sentencing Enhancements

Phoenix Lawyer for Defending Against Firearm Charges

Those charged with a crime involving weapons or firearms may face significant sentencing enhancements. You might face separate weapons charges for carrying a gun, but there are cases in which the presence of a weapon only triggers sentence enhancements for a particular crime, rather than a distinct weapons charge. If you were charged with a crime and you are concerned about gun sentencing enhancements, you can consult experienced Phoenix gun crime attorney James Novak. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who now uses his experience and insights to provide to defend the accused.

Gun Sentencing Enhancements

Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 13-3101(A)(4), firearms include any loaded or unleaded gun, rifle, pistol, shotgun or other device expressly designed to release a projectile. You are prohibited from possessing weapons such as guns if you were convicted of a felony and didn’t have your rights restored. You are also prohibited from possessing these kinds of weapons if you are serving a term of probation because you were convicted for a domestic violence crime or felony crime.

If you’re charged with possessing or using a gun while perpetrating a crime, the punishment is likely to be significantly harsher than it would be otherwise. Depending on the circumstances and charges, prison could be mandatory if you are convicted. A knowledgeable gun crime lawyer can help you develop a defense tailored to the specific charges you are facing.


Under Arizona law, felonies can be classified as “dangerous” or “non-dangerous,” among other distinctions. If you’re convicted of a non-dangerous, first offense felony, the court will consider both mitigating and aggravating factors when sentencing you. Generally, the presence of two or more aggravating factors can result in an aggravated sentence. Arizona judges can consider many different aggravating factors, and one such factor is the use of or threat to use a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime.

Penalties for felony convictions can be significantly different even within the sentencing ranges. Certain crimes are considered dangerous crimes because they are crimes against victims, and a different sentencing range applies to them. Under A.R.S. section 13-105(13), dangerous crimes are those in which a deadly weapon was used, discharged, or displayed, or where the victim was intentionally and seriously physically harmed. For example, if you are accused of raping someone while holding a gun to their head, you may face sentencing for a dangerous crime.

There are only three categories of sentencing for a dangerous crime: minimum, presumptive, and maximum sentences. Dangerous offense prison sentences provide for harsher timeframes within each category. Except with regard to childhood sexual assault cases, someone who is at least 18 and was tried as an adult and is convicted of a dangerous offense can be sentenced to longer prison terms than would be imposed for a non-dangerous offense. For a Class 2 felony, the minimum term for a dangerous offense is 7 years. The presumptive term is 10.5 years. The maximum term to be imposed is 21 years. For a Class 6 felony, the minimum term for a dangerous offense is 1.5 years and the presumptive terms is 2.25 years. The maximum term is 3 years.

There are increased penalties for historical and predicate prior offenses where a dangerous repetitive crime or a dangerous crime against children is involved.

Gun Crimes

In some cases, the use of a gun in committing a crime doesn’t simply lead to a sentence enhancement, but results in a separate criminal charge. For example, if you carry a deadly weapon such as a gun on your person or in your car to further a violent crime, a serious offense, or other felony, you can be charged with a Class 6 felony for misconduct involving weapons under A.R.S. section 13-3102.

Gun Crime Attorney for Phoenix Area Residents

If you’re facing a gun sentencing enhancement in Phoenix, you can talk about your situation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Novak defends clients facing gun crime charges in and around the Phoenix area, including in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.

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