Have You Been Accused of a Gun Crime?
Our Gun Charges Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights
Gun laws are complicated and can be difficult to understand. It can be easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the law even when you didn’t realize you were doing something illegal.
If you’ve found yourself in a bad situation and need a lawyer for gun charges, Cody Villalon can help. When you hire him as your gun lawyer, he can help you understand your charges and help you resolve them as quickly and advantageously as possible.
Cody Villalon is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has been serving Richmond, Virginia, and surrounding areas for more than a decade. If you need a defense attorney when you face gun charges call us at 804.316.0765 to learn how we can help you.
Gun Charges Are Serious
Understanding What You Are Up Against
While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, many states have legislation intended to regulate private possession and use of firearms. Violating gun laws can get you arrested and processed through the judicial system. Many gun crimes carry serious mandatory prison sentences.
Penalties for gun law crimes range from losing your weapon to a possible prison sentence. It is important to know the potential consequences you may be facing. It is also important to have a gun possession lawyer fighting to protect your rights.
Why Use Cody Villalon as Your Lawyer for Gun Charges?
Cody is a hard worker who cares deeply about his clients and their needs. He is the only attorney in his firm, so you can rest assured that your case will never be passed off to someone else.
Cody takes every case personally. He is driven by the belief that every person charged with a crime deserves a vigorous defense and should be treated with dignity. He will walk you through every step of the legal process, fighting aggressively for you.
How Is a Gun Defined Under Virginia Law?
Virginia law is very specific in its definition of a gun. For the purposes of gun charges, the following are legally considered firearms:
- Any other weapon designed to propel a missile of any kind caused by an explosion of any combustible material.
Although these are common sense definitions for most, Virginia statutes strive to be as exact as possible. This specificity is meant to prevent any questions for law enforcement and those accused of crimes. A possession of firearm attorney can help you understand any parts of Virginia law that may be unclear.
Gun Crimes in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has several laws regulating guns and other weapons in its statutes. These statutes define firearms and describe the specifics of who may or may not own a weapon, as well as how you can legally obtain a gun.
Criminal laws related to firearms clarify what constitutes a gun crime and what the consequences are for breaking these laws.
Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
In Virginia, shooting a gun in a public space or inside a building is a crime. If even one occupant is inside the building and you place them in danger by discharging your weapon, you become guilty of a felony. If you find yourself in such a situation, consulting a Richmond felony lawyer can be crucial to understand your rights and legal options.
The details of the event can affect the severity of the charges and related punishment.
If you fired your gun, but had no intention of causing harm, you might be guilty of a class 6 felony and can be sentenced to prison for one to five years.
If the firing of your gun was considered to be malicious, or you had the intent to cause harm, this crime becomes a class 4 felony. You could face a penalty of two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
If the shooting causes death, of course, the charges can increase to second- or even first-degree murder.
Persons Prohibited from Owning a Gun (Firearm Felon)
If you’ve been previously convicted of a felony, it is unlawful for you to intentionally possess or transport guns or ammunition in Virginia. Violating this law can be classified as a class 6 felony that can be punished with a mandatory two year prison sentence if you have a felony conviction within 10 years of the offense. If your earlier felony was violent, no matter how old it is, the punishment can increase to a mandatory five years in prison. If you’ve been charged with a violent offense, consulting a violent offense charge lawyer is crucial.
Drugs and Guns
If you have a gun in your possession while at the same time having illegal drugs, you are facing mandatory incarceration.
Possessing a firearm while also possessing a controlled substance results in at least two years of mandatory prison time. If you possess a firearm while being involved in the distribution of schedule I/II drugs you can be sentenced to a mandatory five years in prison. In these situations, certain defenses might be employed, but you’ll need an experienced defense attorney like Cody Villalon to help. If you find yourself in such a predicament, consulting a Richmond drug possession lawyer is essential. Reckless Handling of a Weapon.
If you have become comfortable handling a gun, it can be easy to forget the fear they cause for others. If you handle a weapon in a way that can be considered careless, you could be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. A Richmond misdemeanor charge lawyer can provide further guidance on the potential consequences of such actions.
If the careless handling of your gun puts another person in danger, you could be punished with up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Concealed Gun Laws
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is a crime to carry a concealed weapon. For a first offense, the crime is considered a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Prior convictions for the same crime increase the severity of the charges and consequences. A second conviction could result in the same practical punishments, but the crime would be considered a class 6 felony.
A third conviction raises the level of conviction to a class 5 felony, and the punishment could increase to between one and ten years in prison. A possession of a firearm attorney can help you build the best possible defense.
Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony
Certain enumerated felonies are made even more severe if they are accomplished with the use of a firearm. For a first offense, a violation of this law will result in a mandatory three-year prison sentence. Those facing charges might consult with a probation violation lawyer to understand their rights and options. A second offense, even if it occurred during the same event, carries a mandatory five year prison sentence. These laws make already serious crimes even tougher if the Commonwealth is able to get a conviction.
Firing a Gun from a Vehicle
Under Virginia law, if a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle intentionally fires a gun, it can be classified as a class 5 felony. Even if another person on the road felt afraid that you were going to cause injury or death, you can be charged. In Virginia, guns and vehicles are not a good combination.
Gun Sentencing Enhancements in Virginia
When Faced with a Gun Charge, It Can Get Even Worse
In Virginia, sentencing enhancements can be applied if you are convicted of crimes. Often referred to as “penalty enhancements,” these are additional penalties where a fine, more incarceration, or even an additional period of mandatory incarceration is added to your sentence. These can appear as additional firearms offenses or as enhancements to sentencing guidelines when guns are involved.
In firearms cases, the specific facts and circumstances of your case play a role in whether or not penalty enhancements will be added to your sentence.
Another key factor used in making this determination is whether you have a prior criminal record. A skilled defense lawyer will have experience working to keep firearm enhancements from being applied in your case.
How Our Richmond Gun Charge Lawyer Can Help You
If you’ve been charged with a gun crime, you are in a serious situation. This is not something you want to take lightly. Whether it’s a simple possession charge or you’ve been accused of using your gun in a serious crime, you need a trusted legal defense who can advise you on your best course of action and fight for your defense.
With Cody Villalon as your gun lawyer, you can expect him and his team to:
- Listen to your side of the story and look for the best possible defenses based on your gun charges
- Look for mistakes made by police and prosecutors in the investigation and handling of your case
- Make sure you are prepared for any hearings or court appearances
- Ensure that all timelines are followed for paperwork filing, hearings, and court appearances
- Negotiate vigorously with prosecutors to seek dropped or reduced charges and lesser punishments
- Build a solid defense that can be presented at trial if that becomes necessary.
Defending yourself against criminal charges requires the skills of a seasoned attorney. If you need a possession of firearm attorney or representation for any other gun charge, call Cody Villalon at 804.316.0765 today.
”Cody is amazing! His communication is great, he follows through in a super friendly timely manner! He’s realistic & He really works with you, as long as you work with him! Thanks so much Cody, your assistance on this journey has been tremendous! – Keshirl Cofield (Google Review)
Frequently Asked Questions for Our Richmond Gun Lawyer
Being charged with any crime can be a frightening experience. Since gun crimes can be punished severely, these kinds of charges can be especially unnerving. Cody Villalon receives a lot of questions related to gun laws. Here are answers to commonly asked questions.
Yes, you can openly carry a firearm in Virginia except into a courthouse, a school or school event, or a church. You also must be able to legally possess a firearm in the first place. A gun possession lawyer can help you understand what places are prohibited from open carry.
The only gun you must register under Virginia law is a machine gun. If you purchase a machine gun, it must be registered with the Department of State Police within 24 hours. A possession of firearm attorney can help with this.
Firearm replicas are not generally restricted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Replica weapons are restricted only from certain locations. In addition, if they are used while a crime is being committed, charges and punishments can result. Many gun crimes in Virginia can still be charged even if the gun does not function or is not real. The fact it is not a “real” gun does not mean the matter is not serious.
This depends on all of the circumstances involved in your case. To best advise you, we would need to understand every detail surrounding your arrest. Once we have an understanding of your specific situation, we can advise you whether a plea agreement is your best choice.
The legal fees for your case will depend on the severity of your charges, and the time it will take to provide you with the best possible defense.
Cody Villalon offers a free first consultation to discuss your gun charges. During that consult, we will work to understand your case and determine what we think will be required to bring a resolution. Before we proceed any further, we will provide you with a quote for our services and outline fee structure options.
Defense Strategies For Gun Charges
Defense strategies for gun charges vary, depending on the charges you face. If you’re charged with a gun crime, a Richmond gun charge lawyer can argue:
- The weapon used is not prohibited by law.
- The person who fired the weapon didn’t mean to fire it.
- The gun was fired in self-defense.
- The evidence was illegally obtained.
- There was no malicious intent.
Gun possession lawyers know that sometimes law enforcement and prosecutors can make mistakes in their evidence gathering and their assumptions. Our seasoned Richmond criminal lawyer will be able to use these mistakes to your advantage when building your defense.
For the Best Defense Against Gun Charges, Call Cody Villalon
Cody Villalon is convinced that everyone is guaranteed rights under the law. Those rights can quickly erode unless people are willing to fight for their defense.
Cody is proud of his 12 years as a lawyer for gun charges and other crimes. He offers aggressive defense and strong legal representation for those accused of crimes to ensure the fair treatment guaranteed by our constitution.