Illegal Use of Weapons: What to Do if You’re Facing Charges
Did you know that 4 in 10 American adults live in a household with a gun and 30% personally own a firearm? The stance on gun ownership depends on political party affiliation, age, gender, and location.
If you own a gun you need to know the rules that deal with the illegal use of a weapon. Discharging your weapon illegally can have significant consequences, including fines and jail time.
Have you been charged with statute 14:94 Illegal Use of a Weapon in Louisiana? Read this guide to learn what you can do about the charges you are facing and why it’s crucial to get a lawyer.
What Is Illegal Use of a Weapon?
The charge of illegal use of weapons applies when you discharge firearms intentionally or with criminal negligence. A reasonable person could have foreseen that the result of discharging the weapons might be someone’s death or bodily harm to a person. The rules are set out in RS 14:94 of the Louisiana laws.
Illegal possession of firearms is a separate charge and is found under RS 14:95. Unregistered firearms charge applies when you intentionally conceal a firearm that you have on your person without a handgun permit. Remember that you may be charged with more than one offense depending on the circumstances.
What Are the Penalties for Illegal Use of a Weapon?
If you have been charged with illegal use of a weapon, one of the most important things you need to understand is what kind of penalties are you looking at. First-time offenses can result in a fine of not more than $1,000 or jail time of not more than 2 years, or both.
If this is your second conviction, then the penalties are higher. If you have been charged with illegal use of a weapon in the past, you will face jail time of 5 to 7 years. The Louisiana laws state that you will get jail time without the benefit of probation.
As you can see, repeat offenses for a weapons charge are taken very seriously and have significant consequences. But you do have a respite, as these enhanced penalties don’t apply if your last offense was more than 5 years ago.
Public Street or Highway
Where you discharge your firearm from a car onto a public street or highway with the intent to injure, hurt or even frighten another person, the penalties are much more significant. In this case, you are dealing with jail time of 5 to 10 years. You may not benefit from the probation or suspension of the sentence during your prison term.
The higher penalties make sense because you are putting the general public at risk. The penalties are designed to penalize you and reduce the risk of such behavior taking place.
What Should You Do if You Are Charged With Illegal Use of a Weapon?
Now you have been charged with illegal use of a weapon, among other charges. What can you do?
Well, there are certain steps you need to take to make sure you are dealing with the charges in the best way possible. By taking these steps, you can get the best result for your future.
This goes without saying but your best bet is to remain calm. Don’t say anything and ask for an attorney. If you start making a fuss, you can antagonize law enforcement further and can end up getting increased penalties and charges.
Contact an Attorney
The next thing you should do is contact a firearms charges attorney. You want someone who is experienced in the area so that you get the best advocate working on your behalf. You also want someone with top-quality negotiation skills.
Your lawyer will protect your rights during interrogation if the police try to coerce you into confessing. They will negotiate on your behalf to get you the best result possible with minimal jail time. If you are dealing with a repeat offense, you want to make sure to have a lawyer on your side otherwise so you can avoid the severe penalties.
Remember that you need a lawyer even if you are innocent. While you may be able to represent yourself in court, it can be a stressful experience. With the significant consequences to your future, getting an attorney might be the best option for your future.
The next thing you want to do is confirm your alibi. Confirm the dates in question and make sure you know where you were and what you were doing. If you have someone who can vouch for you, contact them immediately.
There may be other evidence you want to gather such as restaurant bills showing you were not in the area, parking tickets showing time and date, and any other evidence that you can find that shows that you could not have been in the area. This depends on your particular situation and can change.
Get Your Argument Together
Have honest and up-front discussions with your attorney. You want to give your attorney the best information so that they can put the best argument forward. This is the time to brainstorm with your lawyer and use their expertise.
Come Up With the Best Strategy With Your Attorney
As you have those discussions, your attorney should be able to provide his or her experience dealing with similar situations in the past. They will let you know what type of arguments you can put forward. You can work together to find the best strategy for your particular case.
Contact a Firearms Charges Attorney Today
Now you know the consequences of a weapons charge for illegal use of a weapon or illegal possession of firearms. These consequences can be significant. They are even higher if this is a second offense.
If you are dealing with an illegal firearm charge, the first thing you need to do is find a firearms charge attorney who can help you with your weapons charges. Contact us today to hire an attorney for Illegal Use in Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, or anywhere in Louisiana. Together we can come up with the best strategy for your particular situation, so you can get back to your normal life sooner.