Overview of Three Firearm Weapon Crimes in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia features laws against weapon crimes, including various restrictions on the ability to possess or use firearms. For example, it is a crime to display or brandish a firearm in certain circumstances. It is also illegal to discharge a firearm in public or at occupied buildings or residences.
- Pointing, Holding or Brandishing Firearms
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-282 establishes the state laws against mishandling a firearm. Under this section, it is unlawful to:
- Point, hold or brandish any firearm or any object similar in appearance, even if such an object is incapable of discharging ammunition; and
- Induce a reasonable fear in another person of being shot or injured.
Any person who violates Section 18.2-282 is typically guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted for this misdemeanor, the Virginia punishment includes a maximum of 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, there is an exception to Section 18.2-282. This section does not apply to the pointing, holding, or brandishing of a firearm in a reasonable self-defense attempt of.
- Discharging Firearms in Public Places
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-280 provides the state laws against discharging a firearm in a public place. Under this section, it is illegal to willfully discharge a firearm in a public place, such as a government building, school, or other location open to the public.
The applicable punishment for this offense can change based on underlying circumstances. If the offense does not involve physical harm or injury, it is usually a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable as explained above.
If the offense does involve physical harm or injury, however, this offense becomes a Class 6 felony. If convicted for this felony, the Virginia punishment includes one to five years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.
- Discharging Firearms in Buildings or Residences
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-279 details the state laws against discharging a firearm in or at a building or residence. Under this section, it is unlawful to:
- Discharge a firearm in or at a building or residence occupied by one or more people; and
- Endanger the life or lives of the people within the building or residence.
The applicable punishment for this offense can change based on underlying circumstances. If the perpetrator acted in an unlawful — but not malicious — manner, this offense is usually a Class 6 felony, punishable as explained above.
If the perpetrator acted in a malicious fashion, however, this offense can become a Class 4 felony. If convicted for this felony, Virginia punishment includes two to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about Virginia charges for a weapon crime or a different offense, it can be highly advantageous to contact a Leesburg weapon crimes lawyer. The results-driven lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have represented many criminal defendants against numerous charges, including weapon crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.