If a person uses a weapon while committing another crime, he or she may be placing the health and safety of other individuals at risk. Due to this, a crime that is committed with a weapon often incurs severe penalties for the person accused of the crime.
A person who uses a weapon during the commission of another crime may find that he or she is subject to a sentence enhancement. Such an enhancement has the effect of adding time onto a person’s original sentence. Weapons may be used to help facilitate a variety of crimes, including sex crimes, kidnapping, assault, battery, burglary, drug crimes, robbery and burglary. When these crimes are committed with the help of a weapon, the individual may receive one sentence based on the crime itself and additional punishment based on the presence of a weapon. For example, if a person robbed a bank while in possession of a handgun, having the gun at the time of the crime will likely have a serious effect on the person’s sentence in comparison to if the person did not have the weapon at the time of committing the crime.
For a sentence enhancement to apply, it is not always necessary that a person use the weapon during the crime. For example, he or she may have simply shown the weapon in order to make the victim comply or to make him or her afraid.
There are a variety of weapon charges that a person may commit besides receiving an enhanced penalty by using the weapon in conjunction with a crime. Weapons are heavily regulated by federal and state laws, especially guns. A person may be charged with a separate criminal charge for being a felon in possession of a gun. Failing to register a gun may be another possible crime that stands alone by itself.
Failing to register a weapon may be another type of crime that a criminal defendant is found to have committed. Selling drugs while carrying a gun can be a stand-alone offense.
Many states allow concealing a weapon so a person may be penalized if he or she has a concealed weapon. The state may have a specific license or permit that can be acquired to carry a weapon in such a nature, but if the person does not follow this protocol, he or she may be in troubled legal waters if he or she is found to have not followed these rules.
One of the most common criminal charges related to weapon use or possession is assault by a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon can often be more than just the obvious types of weapons that criminals use, such as a gun or knife. It may be defined under state law as any object that could inflict serious bodily harm or death. Based on this broader definition, a deadly weapon may include a hammer, frying pan or sword.
Effect of Sentence Enhancement
Having a firearm or other weapon during the time another crime is committed can cause significant consequences. A criminal defendant may be subject to stricter penalties when a weapon is involved in the crime. In some cases, a weapon enhancement may double the amount of time that a person is sentenced to.
It is critical when facing a weapon enhancement to consult with a qualified lawyer who can carefully evaluate the circumstances surrounding the case and the potential punishments that are on the line. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer may evaluate the case for possible procedural errors or police misconduct that may influence the case or the evidence that is admitted.
A criminal defense lawyer can explain the defendant’s rights to him or her so that he or she can make an informed decision about the case. A lawyer can explain whether illegal search or seizure was involved in the case, which may provide grounds to have evidence thrown out of the case. A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate possible options related to defenses for a weapon-related offense, such as showing that the weapon did not belong to the defendant or that the defendant was not aware of its proximity.