Defending Hampton Roads Gun Charges

Part of defending Hampton Roads gun charges includes understanding the laws and regulations surrounding one’s charge. For example, the functional definition of a gun in Hampton Roads is a weapon that is designed to expel ammunition at a high rate of speed.

In trials, it is incumbent upon the Commonwealth to prove that a firearm was used, whether or not the weapon is a firearm. In some cases, the prosecution must prove that the gun was functional, so an established gun lawyer will likely review evidence to determine whether the item in question was or was not a gun.

Defining the Elements the Prosecution Needs to Prove

Elements the prosecution must prove to convict a person of a gun charge depends on the type charge the accused is facing. Gun charges require that there was the use of a firearm, or something resembling a firearm, depending on the specific charge. For a charge of brandishing a firearm, the prosecution must prove that the individual possessed a firearm and displayed it in a threatening or intimidating manner towards the accused.

For a charge of possession of a concealed weapon, the prosecution must prove that the individual had a firearm, that it was not visible to the public or to common view, and that the individual did not have permission to carry it in such a manner.

For a charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the prosecution must first prove that the underlying felony was committed and then prove that a firearm was used, or that the victim(s) reasonably believed that the individual had a firearm.

How Might an Attorney Fight the Prosecution’s Case?

Depending on the case, a criminal attorney may refute the prosecution’s evidence in different ways. In some cases, the attorney may have eyewitnesses testify as to what the client did. A gun brandishing case may be impacted by witness testimony of how the defendant was holding the gun.

Witness testimonies can have a potential impact when defending Hampton Roads gun charges. For example, there may be issues if the defense witnesses testify that the defendant was holding the gun at his side, while the prosecution’s witnesses testified that the defendant was waving the gun in the air. In cases in which there are questions about the ownership of a firearm or the use of a specific firearm in the commission of a crime, an attorney may use fingerprint analysis or ballistics testing to counter evidence that the commonwealth may present.

Is the Second Amendment A Sufficient Defense for Gun Charges?

The Second Amendment is sometimes not a sufficient defense when gun charges are involved because although the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the courts, guarantees the right to own a firearm, the courts have ruled that the states and the government are free to regulate that right. There is no unfettered firearm use; the states can define requirements for gun purchase and place restrictions on firearm use including how an individual can use a gun, when they may carry it, and how they may display it.

Contacting a Lawyer Prior to Trial

A person should hire an attorney to help them in defending Hampton Roads gun charges and trying to mitigate the outcome of someone’s case. Depending on the circumstances, an individual could face jail time either through sentencing by a judge, or in more serious cases, a mandatory minimum jail sentence. Many gun cases have specific facts that the government must prove in order to gain a conviction and an attorney works to find flaws, inconsistencies and problems with the evidence presented by the prosecution to prove those facts.

Important factors attorneys look for when reviewing the prosecution’s case are the types of evidence the commonwealth is presenting to prove each element of the crime. Attorneys work to determine if the evidence is circumstantial, eyewitness, or forensic. Because eyewitness evidence can fluctuate and deviate over time, forensic evidence is generally considered stronger than eyewitness evidence.