Hampton Roads Gun Charge Prosecution

In Hampton Roads, gun charges for brandishing a firearm or possession of a concealed weapon are typically prosecuted in the general district court, while felony charges such as the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, are typically prosecuted in the circuit court.

Before the first court date, a person should know that they should not have to enter any sort of plea and that on their first court date they do not have to make any statement about what happened. They should be aware that gun charges are serious and that the government takes up the role of Hampton Roads gun charge prosecution. Often, they will do so vigorously and attempt to obtain a conviction against them and cause them to forfeit the firearm. Therefore, it may be critical to speak with an organized and qualified gun attorney regarding your charge.

What the Prosecution Must Prove in a Firearm Case

the Hampton Roads gun charge prosecution needs to prove the elements of each charge. All gun charge cases require that the prosecution show that the weapon was a firearm, but different gun charges require different elements. In cases of brandishing of a firearm, it is necessary to show that the person had a firearm and that they used or displayed it in a manner that was threatening.

In cases of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the prosecution must show that the person had either actual or constructive possession of a firearm, that they have been adjudicated a felon, and their rights have not been restored. In cases like this, proof can be shown by ballistics testing or by the admission of the defendant.

What Elements are Commonly Contested in Court?

Important elements of a gun charge case that may be contested in court depend on the type of case and the evidence presented. A brandishing case may be impacted by how the defendant displayed the firearm and whether or not the firearm was used to scare the accuser. In some cases, the parties may argue whether or not the object was a firearm, and whether it meets the statutory definition of a firearm. In other cases, the parties may argue whether the commonwealth can prove that the defendant used the firearm to commit a felony, or whether the defendant acted in such a way that a reasonable person would have a belief that the defendant possessed a firearm.

How Can the Details of One’s Case Impact the Trial?

People should know that although each Hampton Roads prosecutor is different, in Virginia, gun charges are handled seriously by the government. Some members of the Hampton Roads gun charge prosecution are more familiar with firearms than others, which may have an impact on the defendant’s case. Prosecutors who are familiar with firearms may recognize a situation and see that the defendant’s actions were not necessarily illegal, while prosecutors who lack experience with firearms may see the same firearm charge and do everything they can to get a conviction.

Steps Someone Can Take After Being Accused of a Firearm Charge 

Everyone should know that the trial process specific to gun charge cases is the same as for any other charge, but it is more likely that the defendant will have to testify on their behalf in order for the judge or the jury to consider ruling in their favor. In a case of brandishing or possession of a firearm, the defendant would need to testify as to what they were doing or how they were using the firearm.

Steps a person can take to ensure that they do not face any gun charges are to be mindful of Virginia’s firearm laws, try not to run afoul of those laws, and to contact an attorney before answering any questions from police officers about a case. In some cases, people are charged with crimes for which they would not have otherwise been charged because they spoke to police officers without the assistance of an attorney.