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Are you facing a conviction for weapons charges?
The United States Constitution protects citizens’ right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, but weapons are closely regulated by both state and federal law.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re being charged with a weapons offense—like a gun crime—you could face hefty fines, limited future opportunities, and even jail time.
Weapons offenses are often felony convictions, so you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who’s well-versed in gun laws. A Chattanooga weapons charges lawyer will work to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome for your case.
Some weapons are completely outlawed in the Volunteer State. This means it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, sell, repair, transport, or possess the barred weapons.
Prohibited firearms in Tennessee include:
The Tennessee criminal law also contains an overarching prohibition of any “implement for infliction of serious bodily injury or death” if there’s no lawful purpose for possessing it.
Penalties for weapons offenses in Tennessee can result in a range of penalties. Some weapon crimes are charged as misdemeanors, and some are charged as felonies.
For example, a simple weapons charge is one where the defendant was found in possession of a firearm, club, or blade longer than four inches and “intended to go armed.” This charge is usually considered a Class C misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of $50 in fines and 30 days in jail.
On the other hand, in criminal cases where defendants were in possession of a sawed-off shotgun or machine gun, these charges are considered Class E felonies. This weapons offense is punishable by one to six years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.
In any case involving illegal possession of weapons, there are certain factors that—if present—could lead to charges being increased to a more severe offense.
If the defendant has previous gun crimes on their record, a simple weapons possession charge—usually a Class C misdemeanor—could be elevated to a Class B misdemeanor. This charge carries a possible penalty of $500 in fines and six months in jail.
Convicted felons who have previously been convicted of a violent felony or a drug felony are prohibited from possessing a firearm in Tennessee.
When a defendant with a violent felony conviction on their criminal record is found in possession of a firearm, the charge is a Class B felony. Penalties could include up to 30 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Those with felony drug crimes on their record could face a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Possession of a weapon on school property—including school buildings, grounds, and athletic fields—is a Class E felony.
Even if the weapon is legally owned and carried, if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Tennessee, you could be facing a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties for this charge include up to one year in prison and $2,500 in fines.
If the defendant is accused of illegally possessing a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a dangerous felony—such as carjacking, aggravated burglary, or murder—the weapons offense is a Class C felony.
Suppose you’re facing a weapons charge in Tennessee. In that case, it’s important to remember that, for you to be proven guilty, the prosecution must convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed the weapon illegally and intended to be armed.
With that in mind, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use one of the following criminal defense strategies for your benefit:
A weapons conviction is no joke. If you’re facing charges for firearm possession, you need legal representation. An experienced Chattanooga weapons charges attorney can help protect your rights and freedom. Contact the Law Office of Sam Byrd today for a consultation on your criminal case.
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What’s the big difference between a misdemeanor and a felony? Well, one can land you in prison...
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Both state and federal governments have laws restricting the manufacturing, selling, and possession of weapons. For example, you will face federal court and a federal charge if your offense violates federal gun laws. However, if your offense violates state law, you’ll be charged at the state level.
Federal law prohibits the following individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition:
Earlier this year, Tennessee legislators voted to remove the short-barrel rifle or shotgun from the list of illegal firearms in the state. It is now legal for Tennessee residents to possess them.
If you are arrested for both the possession of drugs and unlawful possession of weapons in Tennessee, you could be facing severe penalties. In the Volunteer State, offenders who commit both of these crimes could face consecutive sentences for these crimes if convicted.
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Over the years it has been gut-wrenching to see how better representation would have changed the lives of those charged with criminal offenses in Chattanooga. I have been in courtrooms where someone felt they had done nothing wrong so they did not get representation because they thought the facts would be enough to maintain their freedom. Although the Tennessee criminal justice process might seem straightforward, it rarely is. The law is complicated and has many small nuances that can create big impacts. Knowing how to navigate the legal system and having an experienced and aggressives criminal defense attorney on your side, and in your corner, is the difference that changes the dynamic in your criminal defense case.
Both criminal charges and drunk driving charges can sometimes be resolved by one of the following: