Weapons Charges in Louisiana and How to Avoid Them
Firearms blaze through America. A 2019 study found that more than two-thirds of firearms offenders were arrested again for crimes within eight years of their release.
That’s why the state of Louisiana takes weapons charges so seriously. If you want to own and maintain a firearm, you have to be mindful of Louisiana weapon charges.
What are some common weapons charges? What are their legal penalties? How can you avoid being charged and convicted of weapons offenses?
Answer these questions and you can carry your firearm without legal problems for years to come. Here is your quick guide.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon Into Certain Locations
Section 1379.3 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes provides the guidelines for concealed weapon permits. Any resident of the state older than 21 can apply for one, as long as they do not have a felony or domestic violence conviction. They also must have no problems with drugs or alcohol.
Someone who has been convicted of misdemeanors can apply. But the state may turn down the applicant due to their history.
Yet the permit does not give someone total liberty. It is illegal for anyone to carry a concealed handgun to a permitted protest or parade, including Mardi Gras. Someone cannot bring a handgun into a house of worship or a residential building without the owner’s consent.
A concealed weapon permit does not apply to shotguns, rifles, or other firearms. It also does not apply to knives and other dangerous weapons. Someone who violates the terms of their permit faces up to six months in prison for a first offense.
The easiest way to avoid criminal penalties is to read the terms of your permit. Follow them to the letter and avoid bringing your firearm to a sensitive location. Carry a card with you that proves that you have a concealed carry permit for your gun.
Brandishing a Weapon
A brandishing a weapon charge is called “negligent carrying of a concealed handgun.” It occurs when someone carries a gun in such a manner that it may discharge. They may be holding the gun with their finger on the trigger.
It can also occur if someone carries a gun in a way that makes it seem like they are about to commit a crime. They may carry the gun into a bank, or they may point it at someone else.
It does not matter if the person has a permit or not. A person convicted of the offense faces up to six months in prison and a fine of $500. They may lose their permit to own or carry a handgun.
You can avoid this charge easily. Keep your gun out of sight, putting it in a safe or drawer. When you are carrying your gun, put it in a holster and avoid touching it unless you need to draw it.
Illegal Carrying of Firearm with CDS
The charge of Illegal Carrying of Firearm with CDS is found in statute La RS 14:95 E. On your bond paperwork, if you see these numbers with an “E,” you are charged with a felony. This is a very serious gun charge. The law states that it is illegal to use, possess, or have under his immediate control any firearm, or other instrumentality customarily used or intended for probable use as a dangerous weapon,
- while committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, or
- while unlawfully in the possession of a controlled dangerous substance, except the possession of fourteen grams or less of marijuana, or
- during the unlawful sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance
Penalties for Illegal Carrying of a Weapon with Drugs
The penalties in convicted of illegal carrying of a weapon with drugs is a fine of not more than $10,000 and imprisoned at hard labor 5-10 years without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. This charge does not allow a judge to give you probation if you are convicted.
So, if the prosecutor can prove that you possessed a gun at the same time you possessed illegal drugs and he wants to pursue it, you could be looking at prison time. It does not matter if the gun was registered in your name. You can try to say that your wife or girlfriend left the gun in the car and you didn’t know, but that defense isn’t the best. We know how to negotiate these with the prosecutor to avoid prison-time. Contact us immediately if arrested for drugs and gun charges.
Owning a Weapon After a Felony Conviction
Anyone with a felony record cannot hold a firearm for ten years after their conviction. It does not matter what the felony conviction was about.
People convicted of felony crimes cannot give another person a firearm or ammunition. If they are convicted of a felony and own a gun, they must hand it over to law enforcement.
In order to own a firearm again, the person must apply for expungement. This means that a judge will seal the record of their conviction. Anyone who does not apply for expungement will have a permanent inability to own a firearm.
Someone with a felony conviction who is caught with a firearm faces felony weapons charges. They can go to jail for 5-20 years depending on their conduct with the firearm.
If you have a felony conviction, you should stay as far away from firearms as possible. Do not try to touch a gun, let alone own one. Talk to a weapons charges attorney about the process of restoring your right to own guns.
Assaulting With a Firearm
Aggravated assault occurs when a person assaults someone else with a dangerous weapon. Under Louisiana law, the definition of assault is broad. A threat to harm someone else counts as an assault, just as making physical contact with someone does.
At a minimum, an aggravated assault charge carries a prison sentence of up to six months. If the person assaulted a store employee while trying to rob the store, the charge has a minimum sentence of 120 days.
A drive-by shooting is a felony offense that can land someone in jail for five years. Assault on a police officer with a firearm can result in a ten-year prison sentence. It does not matter how serious the injuries are, though courts tend to impose harsh sentences for permanent injuries.
Aggravated assault is a severe offense, but it is one you can avoid through basic measures. Do not fire your firearm unless you absolutely have to. Never point your firearm at someone, even if the gun is unloaded and has the safety on.
Avoiding Devastating Weapons Charges
Louisiana is serious about its weapons charges. Even if you have a concealed carry permit, you cannot bring your gun to a parade or a church. You cannot point it at others or brandish it in an unsafe fashion.
You must relinquish your firearm if you are convicted of a felony. Threatening someone with your gun is enough to receive an assault charge. Keep your firearm in its holster and avoid using it until you have to.
The best way to avoid charges is to talk to a criminal defense attorney. The Barkemeyer Law Firm serves the Louisiana area. Contact us today.