Possession or Use of Weapon in a Crime

Phoenix Attorney Assisting People Charged with Firearms Offenses

Possession or use of a weapon in a crime can result in harsh penalties in Arizona. You may face weapons charges as well as a sentencing enhancement for the underlying crime. It can be challenging to understand the stakes of your case without the assistance of an experienced Phoenix gun crime attorney who has experience with these types of charges. James E. Novak is a criminal defense attorney with prior experience as a prosecutor. He can use his insights into the prosecutorial process when establishing a defense or navigating the plea bargaining system.

Possession or Use of a Weapon in a Crime

There are very serious consequences if you are caught possessing or using a weapon in a crime in Arizona. Guns and knives are readily understood to be weapons, but anything that is used to threaten or harm someone else can be considered a weapon or dangerous instrument, including golf clubs, rope, and rocks. Weapons that are prohibited in Arizona include bombs, grenades, Molotov cocktails, improvised explosives, certain chemicals, and nunchucks.

Under A.R.S. section 13-3102, there are many different types of behavior that can be charged as misconduct involving weapons. Misconduct with weapons occurs if you (1) knowingly (2) carry any deadly weapon other than a pocket knife, (3) concealed on your person or within your immediate control or on a means of transportation, (4) in order to further any felony offense, a serious offense under 13-306, or a violent crime under section 13-901.03. It can also occur under other circumstances, such as when committing any felony offense under chapter 34, which criminalizes drug activities in Arizona.

You can also face an aggravated term in connection with the underlying crime under section 13-701. The maximum term for a crime can be imposed if a circumstance alleged to be an aggravation of the crime is found to be true by a trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt or is admitted by the defendant. The enumerated aggravating circumstances can also include using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument while committing a crime, except when the circumstance is an essential element of the offense of conviction or was already used to enhance the punishment under section 13-704. For example, if you were sentenced to the maximum 21 years for a class 2 felony that is considered a dangerous offense under section 13-704, you would not also get an aggravated term under section 13-701.

Possessing or using a firearm while committing a felony drug offense is a class 4 felony. For example, if you were buying cocaine and were armed with a firearm at the time of purchase, you could be charged with a class 4 felony. The presumptive prison term for class 4 felonies is 6 years.

If you are charged with discharging a firearm in an occupied area with the purpose of furthering gang activity or providing a firearm to someone else knowing that they would use it to commit a felony, you can be punished for a class 3 felony. The presumptive term for a class 3 felony is 7½ years.

Class 2 felony offenses can include the use or possession of a deadly weapon in order to further an act of terrorism. For a class 2 felony, the presumptive penalty is 10½ years and a fine of up to $150,000.

Consult a Gun Crime Lawyer in the Phoenix Area

A conviction for using a weapon in a crime is not inevitable. As with other elements of a crime, the possession or use of a weapon in a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a tough standard. Moreover, there may be constitutional or procedural defenses that an attorney can raise on your behalf. If you are facing charges that involve the alleged possession or use of a weapon in a crime, you must consult a tough, experienced criminal defense attorney. James E. Novak represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and elsewhere in Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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