Next to assaults, weapons charges are some of most serious types of crimes or probation violations. Should you be worried about receiving prison time as a result? Simply, yes. Some types of weapons charges, depending on your state of residence, carry with them mandatory sentencing guidelines. This means that a conviction for a weapons charge, could carry a lengthy period of prison time without parole until you have served a set amount of your sentence. For instance, in Missouri, Felony Armed Criminal Action has a minimum sentence time of three years before parole consideration (MOSAC 2016). Other factors that influence the amount of time you may serve are: previous criminal history, presence of any aggravating factors, such as a clear intent to harm and the degree of injury to the victim.
Why does a prosecutor view a weapons offenses so seriously? The most obvious reason is that failure to prosecute the charge could lead to the individual escalating to an offense that leads to a loss of life. Alcohol, drugs and domestic violence are often accompanying factors in weapons charges. A prosecutor knows that possessing a gun or a knife while influenced by drugs or alcohol lowers the threshold for good judgement, making an emotionally charged situation even more dangerous. Because of public scrutiny, no prosecutor wants to dismiss a charge and then have that person go on to kill an innocent victim, which explains why these types of charges are frequently prosecuted vigorously.
A good attorney can help you assess your risk for prison time from your weapons charge and possibly plea bargain it down to a lesser charge. If you are facing a weapons offense, don’t face it alone. Contact us for expert advice on how to proceed.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.