How to Reduce a Firearms and Weapons Charge

By  //  March 19, 2023

While everyone has the right to bear arms, every state has its own views on how weapons should be used. Laws are laid down to enforce them, and people who violate them are rightfully prosecuted.

Suppose you’re charged with a firearms and weapons offense. In that case, you must take the necessary steps to develop a solid defense strategy.

Like other crimes, firearms and weapons offenses can carry several legal consequences, such as jail sentences and hefty fines. Also, a conviction for this offense may have a lifelong adverse impact on your future and your family.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce firearms and weapons charges. With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can use them to obtain a more favorable outcome for your case.  

Keep reading this article to learn more about firearms and weapons offenses and how to reduce a charge against you.

What Are The Different Firearms And Weapons Offenses? 

It’s essential to know that these vary depending on your state. But the common crimes related to firearms and weapons may include the following: 

  • Unlawful use of a weapon 
  • Aggravated illegal use of a weapon 
  • Possession while committing a crime
  • Possession without a license
  • Intimidation with a deadly weapon  

These common firearms and weapons offenses all warrant criminal prosecution. Hence, you must talk to a criminal defense lawyer to help handle the case if you deal with any of these crimes. They can provide legal advice on the best courses of action for getting these charges dropped or reducing your sentence.   

You can check out reputable legal websites online for more information on your options. Try looking up keywords like ‘Illinois weapons charges explanations‘ on the search bar of your preferred web browser. This way, you can access resources that help you better understand the charges you’ll have to deal with.

What Are Common Defenses For Firearms And Weapons Crimes? 

Now that you know about the different offenses, it’s time to familiarize yourself with some defenses you can use to reduce your charge. 

The following are the common defense strategies to consider: 

  • Challenging Constructive Possession For Lack Of Evidence  

Generally, the prosecution should prove that you own the weapon to warrant a conviction. There’s no way out of this if you’re arrested with a gun in your pocket. However, suppose you don’t physically possess the firearm. In that case, you’ll have a chance to reduce your charges and ensure a more positive outcome for your case.   

But before you can do that, the prosecution will use the doctrine of constructive possession to prove the presence of a weapon that isn’t actually and physically on you. Under this doctrine, the prosecution must show you have access to the firearm and the intention to use it.  

Hence, if you’ve been stopped in a vehicle where a police officer found a firearm or a prohibited weapon, you can challenge construction possession by alleging that the mere discovery without additional evidence is insufficient for getting prosecuted.

  • Suppression Of Evidence  

Under the constitution, you can be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

Thus, if you’ve been arrested for a firearm and weapon offense, the prosecution should prove that the police lawfully found the weapon as evidence. Otherwise, any evidence collected in violation of your rights should be excluded from the trial. This is called the exclusionary rule.  

Suppose a police officer asked you to stop, searched you and your car, and found a firearm or weapon without reasonable grounds to believe that you’ve committed or are committing a crime. With the help of your criminal defense lawyer, you can file a motion to suppress the evidence, keeping it out of the trial. When this happens, the prosecution may have a weak case against you, resulting in reduced charges or the prosecution withdrawing the entire case.

  • Raising Self-Defense  

You have the right to protect yourself when your safety and security are threatened. This means that if you think you’re in danger, you can apply violent force, like using a weapon to defend yourself.

Hence, if you’ve been arrested for a firearms and weapons crime, your lawyer may use self-defense to reduce your firearms and weapons charge. Just make sure to provide evidence that it was necessary for your circumstances.  

  • Mistaken Identity  

If you’ve been arrested for possessing a firearm around a crime scene, raising the defense of mistaken identity may be an excellent way to reduce your charge.  

You can only be convicted of a crime when the court finds you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the prosecution must prove that you’re undeniably the person who committed the crime. 

The case is rendered void if they lack sufficient evidence to confirm your identity as the crime’s perpetrator. Therefore, you should work with your attorney to gather evidence of your innocence.

Uphold Your Rights

Getting a firearms and weapons charge can be frustrating. As such, you should take this problem seriously to escape legal trouble and recover your life.

Remember the information mentioned above for the best possible defenses against the charge. Also, working with a reliable criminal defense lawyer will boost your chances of proving your innocence.