Weapons Offense Attorney in Denver
The State of Colorado has long, complex statutes related to the possession, sale, and discharge of weapons including pistols, rifles, shotguns and other firearms.
If you don’t know Colorado gun laws and yet you find yourself on the receiving end of a weapons offense charge, you need an attorney immediately. The reasons for this are multiple, and without expert legal defense, you could be setting yourself up for exorbitant fines, a tarnished criminal record, and even jail time.
The Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, PC has first-hand experience guiding defendants in gun charge cases, representing them in court, and upholding their rights to bear arms throughout the criminal justice system. We know how frustrating it can be to be faced with the daunting task of navigating the courts, filing motions, and taking the right actions to ensure an optimal outcome in a weapons offense case.
Categories of Weapons Offenses
There’s a lot to know about how the state of Colorado treats those being charged with weapons offenses. And, it’s important to know what actions the courts are likely to take under certain circumstances. That’s why the power of experience in criminal defense provides so much value for our clients.
For example, did you know that the state of Colorado treats weapons offenses as “enhanceable”? This means that in weapons offense cases that involve a crime (i.e. robbery), the mere possession of the weapon can be used by the courts to ‘elevate’ the charges, turning simple burglary into first-degree burglary or simple assault into assault in the second degree.
These enhanced charges almost always carry with them higher charges with lengthy, mandatory prison sentences. And, if you try to defend yourself against these charges without a criminal defense attorney advising and representing you, things are not likely to go well for you.
Other categories of weapons offense cases enforced by the state of Colorado include:
- Possession of a pistol at the airport/Violation of airport rule/regs. Did you accidentally forget your pistol in your carry on bag? This is very common at Denver International Airport but you don’t want to represent yourself when you are facing up to a year in jail and forfeiture of your firearm.
- Menacing. Were you involved in a road-rage situation where you used your firearm to defend yourself and now you are charged with a serious felony, facing a prison sentence, and loss of your right to ever possess a firearm? Don’t make the mistake of defending yourself against felony charges. Menacing is a class 5 felony and if convicted, you are not eligible to ever possess a firearm.
- Possession of a weapon by a previous offender. Someone who has been previously convicted of a felony cannot possess, use, or carry upon their person any firearm or they risk being charged with a class 5 or class 6 felony.
- Possession of a stolen firearm. Even though Colorado prohibits the licensing and registration of firearms, it is a crime to possess a firearm that has been reported as stolen.
- Unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon. Even though Colorado is an ‘open carry’ state (meaning it is legal for anyone 18 or older to openly carry a non-concealed firearm), carrying a concealed weapon without a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit is illegal unless you are carrying it in a vehicle for your own protection. There are some people for whom carrying a firearm at all is prohibited, including:
- Minors under the age of 18 cannot possess a pistol (except under certain circumstances set forth in 18-12-108.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes)
- People bound by a state-issued protective order prohibiting weapon possession
- Visitors from other states that do not fall into the category of gun law reciprocity with Colorado
Those facing a weapons offense of this type are at risk of being convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor which can include up to 12 months of jail time and fines of up to $1,000 (not including legal and court fees).
- Prohibited use of a weapon. In Colorado, there are some things you simply cannot do with a firearm. These actions are considered class 2 misdemeanors and they carry with them up to 12 months of jail and a fine of up to $1,000.In our state, it is illegal to:
- Possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Point or aim a firearm at another person
- Discharge a firearm in a reckless manner
- Set traps involving the discharge of firearms
- Firearm trafficking or ‘straw purchasing’. When firearms are bought and sold in the state of Colorado, there are certain documentation requirements that must be met. One of these requirements is for unlicensed sellers (read: private parties) to obtain a background check on anyone they sell a firearm to. Not doing so is a direct violation of Colorado state law. Also, knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to someone who cannot legally possess it is also sharply illegal. Moreover, it’s prohibited to make false claims or statements (including using a false identity) during private party transactions involving firearms.
Keep in mind that just because you might be facing criminal charges involving weapons, this doesn’t mean you’re 100% guaranteed to be convicted of these charges. A lot of circumstantial factors can play into the final result of a weapons offense case, and with the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney like Matt Martin, case dismissals and charge reductions can make for a much more attractive outcome for the defendant.
This is why it’s critically important to retain legal counsel for your case as soon as possible. Not doing so could run the risk of your case being tried under the full force of Colorado law, a scenario that could land you in jail for months or years. This could also make you responsible for paying potentially tens of thousands of dollars in fines (not to mention having to live with a stained criminal history).
The Weapons Offense Criminal Defense Process
When Matt Martin represents clients facing a weapons charge, the very first step is to gather all of the facts related to the case. This is the ‘data collection’ phase, and it’s critically important to forming the best possible legal defense.
During this phase, a defense strategy will be developed. This strategy will be derived through a meticulous study of the details of your case and how they comport with similar cases here in Colorado. If there is a chance that your case could be dismissed because of a technicality, this will be integrated into the overall defense strategy.
When you retain Matt Martin as your criminal defense attorney, you don’t have to worry about interacting alone with law enforcement, the courts, or anyone else. Having the power of a proven criminal defense attorney empowers you to leave the difficult discussions with a professional who knows what to say on your behalf and who can protect you from making potentially costly mistakes throughout the entire process.
The Difference between Legal Counsel and Legal Representation
Attorneys who represent clients facing weapons offense charges provide two key services: counsel and representation. It’s important to know the difference between these.
- Legal counsel can be construed as legal advice. When you receive legal counsel from an attorney, you are told what actions, discussions, or motions are advisable for you to engage in. Almost as important are the actions, discussions, or motions that are not advisable for you to engage in. Often, obtaining legal counsel in a weapons offense case can make the difference between a smooth, optimal case outcome and a catastrophic one.
- Legal representation is what your attorney does on your behalf during interactions with the Colorado court system. This can include making arguments during a trial, filing motions, and making appeals in your case. While you could do all of these things on your own (it’s completely permissible to represent yourself in a weapons offense case), unless you’re a competent criminal defense attorney, chances are you are not going to be successful.
The Law Office of Matt Martin has extensive experience providing both legal counsel and representation for those facing weapons offense charges. Our law firm takes the time to fully understand the details of your case so we can develop a strong, compelling defense if and when the time comes to go to trial.
Often, a trial isn’t even necessary. Many weapons offense cases can be dismissed outright due to technicalities or missteps by the Colorado court system. Only an established criminal defense expert like Matt Martin knows exactly how to identify these missteps and use them to the advantage of the client.
Steps to Take When You’re Being Charged with a Weapons Offense
If you are being investigated or charged with a gun crime, there are some steps you can take to help protect yourself.
- Do not discuss the details of your case with anyone except your attorney. As they say, ‘loose lips sink ships’.
- Do not agree to any ‘deals’ offered to you by the prosecuting attorney or the DA. Often, these deals are shrouded in implied commitments that may not be necessary for you to comply with.
- Start building a war chest for your legal defense. Depending on the complexity and severity of your case, your experience as a defendant in the Colorado court system could be a lengthy and expensive one. Court fees, legal fees, and other expenses add up, and it’s best to be prepared with as much capital as you can bring to the table.
- Stay positive. It’s common for those facing gun charges to become overwhelmed by their situation. This is completely understandable, as there is a lot at stake here. However, maintaining a positive attitude and staying grounded is incredibly important during this difficult time.
The final step you absolutely must take as you prepare to proceed on this journey is to hire an attorney. The legal team at the Law Office of Matt Martin, PC is standing by right now to discuss the details of your case.
Contact us today to schedule a case review.