The right to bear arms is enshrined in our national law as a legal right for all Americans. However, this does not give you a free pass on owning weaponry.
The laws vary widely from state-to-state, but everywhere in the country has a number of laws and provisions which prohibit the personal possession of certain types of weapons. Furthermore, there are a number of factors which might prohibit an individual from owning any type of weapon at all.
If you’re charged with illegal possession of a weapon in Louisiana, the consequences can be very serious. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in such a situation.
Possession of a Weapon: Know Your Rights
As mentioned, the laws can vary drastically depending on what state you’re charged with a crime in. First off, it’s important to know that, across the board, illegal possession of a firearm means more than just having a gun on your person.
If you have illegal weapons in your home, or even in the home of a friend or family member, the state still has a right to hit you with a weapon charge.
Knowing your rights means knowing exactly how serious your situation is in the eyes of the law. There are a few exemptions which allow prohibited weapons to be “possessed” as it were.
If you’re handling explosives in an approved commercial or industrial setting you’re all good. Likewise, if the prohibited weapon is being displayed for reasons of historical interest, say in a museum, this is also usually permitted.
Make sure to look up the specific weaponry laws in your state, so you know exactly what applies to you.
Know What You’re Up Against
Being charged with criminal possession of a weapon can mean many things. First off, you could be looking at either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The latter is far more serious.
A misdemeanor offense usually applies if you have no prior convictions and the charge is relatively small-fry (i.e. possession of an unlicensed handgun). If you have a prior conviction or the charge is more serious, you’re looking at a felony.
With a felony gun prison sentence, terms can vary, but you will most likely be looking at solid jail time. This could be anything ranging from six months to five years, depending on the severity of the crime.
A misdemeanor charge, on the other hand, will most likely see a fine of up to $1000 or a probation sentence. You may be looking at prison time, but only a few months at most.
Call a Lawyer
If you’ve been hit with an illegal weapons charge, your first response should always be to immediately call a lawyer. They will be able to walk you through the next steps and help you put together the best steps to fight a gun charge in Louisiana.
The goal will be to secure the lightest sentence possible and to make sure you know all of your rights throughout the sentencing process.
To learn more about what to do when charged with possession of a weapon, or any other criminal charge, make sure to first consult our lawyer’s answers page for all of the information you’ll need.