Prohibited Possessor of a Firearm
While Arizona is known as one of the few states that has strongly upheld the Second Amendment, the right to gun ownership in Arizona is not without its limits. In fact, there are many situations where state law prohibits lawful gun owners from carrying a firearm. Additionally, state law prohibits certain individuals from owning or possessing a firearm altogether. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Maricopa County gun crimes defense attorney has a long history of standing up for the rights of clients facing all types of weapons offenses. If the government charged you as a prohibited possessor of a firearm, give us a call to get started working on a defense.Who Is Prohibited from Possessing a Gun in Arizona?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3101, certain individuals are prohibited from possessing a firearm, including those who,
- Have been found to pose a danger to themselves or others;
- Suffer from an “acute disability” or “grave disability”;
- Have been previously convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a felony in Arizona or any other state;
- Are currently incarcerated;
- Are on probation for a domestic violence offense;
- Do not have legal authority to be in the United States;
- Have been deemed incompetent to stand trial by a criminal court; and
- Have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Notably, § 13-3101 does not only apply to rifles, handguns and shotguns but also to all other “deadly weapons” and “prohibited weapons.” A deadly weapon is anything designed for lethal use, including a firearm. The class of prohibited weapons is much broader and refers to any bomb, grenade, silencer, fully-automatic gun, sawed-off shotgun, Molotov cocktail, and dry ice bomb.What Is the Penalty for Being a Prohibited Possessor of a Firearm?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3102, it is a class 4 felony for anyone who is a “prohibited possessor” to carry, own or otherwise possess a “deadly weapon” or “prohibited weapon.” In Arizona, a class 4 felony carries a presumptive sentence of 2.5 years in jail for a first-time felony offender. However, the maximum sentence can be as high as 3.75 years if the prosecution proves one or more aggravating circumstances. Additionally, if you are considered a prohibited possessor based on a prior felony conviction, this won’t be your first felony, so you’ll face a presumptive sentence of 4.5 years in jail, with a maximum of 7.5 years.What Are The Best Defenses to Felon in Possession Charges?
Those facing allegations that they illegally carried a gun may be able to benefit from one or more defenses. Perhaps the most common defense in these cases is a pre-trial motion to suppress the firearm based on improper police conduct, such as an illegal search or seizure. While police officers are tasked with investigating crimes, they must respect the constitutional rights of suspects. This means that an officer’s actions must be supported by either probable cause or reasonable suspicion, depending on the circumstances. If a police officer violates your constitutional rights when searching you, your belongings, your car or your home, any evidence they recovered may not be admissible at trial.
Other defenses to being a prohibited possessor of a firearm may include the following:
- Your prior conviction did not render you ineligible to possess a firearm;
- You did not possess the firearm, or it was found in a location that was equally accessible to others;
- Your right to possess a firearm was restored pursuant to § 13-910.
If you were recently arrested for illegal possession of a firearm, it is important that you reach out to a dedicated criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin working on a defense. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have successfully represented countless individuals who face serious felony accusations, helping them move past their arrest and on with their lives. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499. You can also reach us through our online contact form.