Phoenix Gun Crime Lawyer

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Firearm laws are generally very lax in Arizona, allowing many people to legally carry a variety of firearm types. This open attitude with firearms, however, does not extend to the penalties once these laws are broken. The potential consequences of being convicted of a gun crime in Arizona are severe and can include a criminal record that threatens your ability to have weapons, imprisonment, and steep fines. Fortunately, prosecutors have a high burden of proof when attempting to establish that you broke the law — they must show you committed each element of your alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury or judge has any reason for doubt, your charges may be reduced or dismissed.

Your ideal option for building a defense that casts doubt on the prosecution’s case is by working with a skilled gun crime defense attorney. Ryan Garvey Attorneys has been helping clients in the Phoenix area implement effective defense strategies for almost 30 years. We are dedicated to ensuring our clients’ constitutional rights are protected as they face the judicial system. With a reputation for being knowledgeable and professional, we will work diligently to reach a successful outcome for your case. When you are facing something as serious as gun charges, you need a reliable lawyer who will treat your situation with competence and understanding.

Arizona Gun Laws

Arizona Revised Statute 13-3101 of the Arizona Criminal Code defines firearms as any pistol, revolver, handgun, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon that uses an explosive to expel a projectile. This definition excludes pellet guns, BB guns, or other air-powered guns. This legal definition also excludes any firearm that has been rendered permanently inoperable.

There is no requirement to have a license or register a firearm to purchase or own a gun. If you are 21 years or older, you can legally purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer. Individuals who are between 18 to 20 may legally purchase a firearm from a private individual. The only exceptions to these liberal ownership laws are for those who:

  • Have been convicted of a felony in any U.S. state
  • Are currently on parole, probation, or house arrest
  • Have been deemed disabled, incompetent, or a danger by the court
  • Are in the United States illegally

Not only does state law allow for a large number of legal firearm owners, but it also allows these owners to possess a wide range of firearm types. Unless the gun is specifically prohibited by law, it can be possessed by private owners. Legal firearms include semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Illegal firearms, or guns that cannot be sold or held in one’s possession, are:

  • Automatic weapons, including any firearm that can fire more than a single round with one trigger pull
  • Short-barreled shotguns, including any shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches
  • Short-barreled rifle, including any rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches
  • Sawed-off weapons, including any shotgun or rifle that has been modified to a length shorter than 26 inches

As an individual, you also have the right to transfer or sell your firearms as you see fit. There is no requirement to register the transfer or sale of a firearm or conduct a background check on the purchaser. An exception to this rule is the sale of a firearm to a prohibited purchaser if you are aware they are part of a prohibited class.

Firearm Crimes

Most gun and firearm offenses are outlined in the Arizona Revised Code Chapter 13. Many of these offenses fall under the offense of misconduct involving weapons (ARS 13-3102). Examples of these crimes include:

  • Possessing, manufacturing, or selling a prohibited firearm
  • Carrying a firearm in or on a means of transportation without disclosing the act to an inquiring law enforcement officer
  • Possession of a firearm in a prohibited area, such as school grounds or a nuclear power station
  • Use of a firearm during the commission of a felony offense
  • Supplying, selling, or giving possession of a firearm to a person if you are aware they plan to use the firearm during the commission of a felony
  • Discharging a firearm at an occupied structure to assist or promote criminal syndicates or criminal street gangs
  • Possession of a firearm as a prohibited possessor

Other firearm crimes listed in Chapter 13 include:

  • Unlawful discharge of firearms (ARS 13-3107). Discharging a firearm with criminal negligence into or within any municipality
  • Drive-by shootings (ARS 13-1209). Intentionally discharging a firearm from a vehicle at a person, occupied structure, or occupied vehicle
  • Disorderly conduct with a weapon (ARS 13-2904). Recklessly and knowingly displaying, handling, or discharging a firearm with the intent to disturb the quiet or peace of a person, family, or neighborhood

Penalties for a Firearm Crime Conviction

Firearm crimes are generally designated a presumptive term. However, there is a wider sentence range that can apply. The specific sentence range depends on these factors:

  • The alleged offender’s prior criminal record
  • The age of the victim or others involved in the crime
  • If the offense caused serious bodily injury or death
  • The offense was aggravated or mitigated
  • Misdemeanor or felony charge

If the firearm crime is considered a misdemeanor, it can be charged as two of the three misdemeanor levels:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor. The defendant can face up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. An example of this type of crime is carrying a firearm in a form of transportation if the accused is less than 21 years old.
  • Class 1 misdemeanor. The defendant can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Examples of crimes that can be charged at this level include possessing a firearm on school grounds and carrying a firearm into an election polling place on election day without authorization.

If you have been charged with a felony firearm crime, the court can implement fines of up to $150,000 along with the prison sentence. Four of the six felony levels can be charged in firearm crime cases:

  • Class 6 felony. The defendant can face between 18 months to three years in prison with a presumptive sentence of 27 months. Examples of class 6 felony firearm charges include defacing a firearm, unlawful discharge, and selling a firearm to a prohibited person.
  • Class 4 felony. The defendant can face between four years and eight years in prison with a presumptive sentence of six years. Examples of crimes that can be charged at this level are possessing a firearm as a prohibited person or using a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  • Class 3 felony. The defendant can face between five years and 15 years in prison with a presumptive sentence of seven and a half years. An example of a class 3 felony firearm charge is selling, supplying, or giving a firearm to a person if there is reason to believe they will use the firearm while committing a felony.
  • Class 2 felony. The defendant can face between seven years and 21 years in prison with a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years. An example of a crime that can be charged at this level is possessing, exercising control over, or using a firearm in furtherance of an act of terrorism.

Firearm Sentencing Enhancements

The sentences for a firearm-related crime are severe on a base level, but they can be increased in certain circumstances. If you have been charged with using or possessing a firearm while perpetrating another crime, the penalty is likely to be harsher than if the crime was committed without using the firearm. This enhanced sentence can cause a prison sentence to become mandatory upon conviction.

If the charges against you are felonies, they will be classified as non-dangerous or dangerous. One of the ways it can be classified as a dangerous crime is if a firearm was displayed, used, or discharged. If this label is added to your charge, the prison sentence you face will be longer than what you would face without this distinction.

Not only can using a firearm enhance the sentence you face for the other crimes you have been charged with, but it can also result in a separate Class 6 felony charge of misconduct involving weapons.

Preparing To Meet Your Defense Attorney

Your time, as well as the time of your attorney, is valuable. When you schedule a consultation with a defense attorney, there are some important pieces of information to gather and take with you to ensure efficient use of time:

  • Your contact information
  • Personal and professional background, including any other relevant information such as prior criminal charges or convictions
  • All documents from the police or court pertaining to the charges
  • Any evidence, such as photos, documents, or videotapes, that you possess
  • A list of witnesses who could be helpful for your defense

Phoenix Gun Crime Defense Attorney

The penalties for firearm-related crimes are severe and can also dramatically increase the penalties that you face for other crimes that you have been charged with. Ryan Garvey Attorneys is passionate about protecting our client’s Second Amendment rights and preventing unnecessary charges and sentence enhancers from being leveraged against them. Quickly scheduling your consultation with our office can provide valuable time to build an impenetrable defense.

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