Understanding the Consequences of Weapons Charges in Missouri: Criminal Defense in St. Louis
Missouri is known to have some of the least restrictive laws regarding the possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens. Still, there are many complicated laws and regulations which can lead to a firearms-related charges ranging from misdemeanor to very serious felony charges.
Certain individuals don’t have the right to carry a firearm. Common examples include those who have been convicted of a domestic assault charge, and anyone who has been convicted of a felony but there is many scenarios in which someone may or may not be able to carry a firearm depending on their occupation, location, or history.
Below you will see an overview of Missouri law outlining some of the most common firearms-related charges which occur in Missouri.
Armed Criminal Action
Any person who commits any felony under the laws of Missouri by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon is also guilty of the offense of armed criminal action and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not less than three years and not to exceed fifteen years.
If the person is unlawfully possessing a firearm, in which case the term of imprisonment shall be for a term of not less than five years.
If convicted no person shall be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release, or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of three (3) years.
Armed Criminal Action: Second Offense
Any person convicted of a second offense of armed criminal action shall be punished by imprisonment by the department of corrections for a term of not less than five years and not exceeding thirty years.
If the person is unlawfully possessing a firearm, the term of imprisonment shall be for a term not less than fifteen years. If convicted you will not be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release, or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of five (5) years.
Armed Criminal Action: Third Or Subsequent Offenses
Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense of armed criminal action shall be punished by imprisonment by the department of corrections for a term of not less than ten years.
If the person is unlawfully possessing a firearm, in which case the term of imprisonment shall be no less than fifteen years.
If convicted the person will not be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release, or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of ten (10) years.
Unlawful Use of Weapons: A Misdemeanor to A Felony
Unlawful use of weapons charges are some of the most complicated criminal laws in Missouri with many exceptions and a huge variance in the severity of the penalty. Some of the most common ways you see an unlawful use of weapons charge in Missouri are as follows:
- Carrying Firearms where restricted by Law.
- Using a firearm in an angry or threatening manner, or having a firearm or projectile weapon readily capable of lethal use on his or her person.
- While he or she is intoxicated and handles or otherwise uses a such firearm or projectile weapon in either a negligent or unlawful manner.
- Discharges such firearm or projectile weapon unless acting in self-defense; or
- Discharges a firearm within one hundred yards of any occupied schoolhouse, courthouse, or church building; or
- Discharges or shoots a firearm at a mark, at any object, or at random, on, along, or across a public highway or discharges or shoots a firearm into any outbuilding
- Possession of Firearms and Drugs which are sufficient for a felony
Still, there are several other ways that you could be charged with unlawful use of weapons for a gun-related charge and you should contact a gun charge defense lawyer at the Krupp Law Firm for advice.
Possession of a Defaced Firearm: B Misdemeanor
Each firearm has a serial number typically located on the side of the gun. It's always supposed to be on each firearm. So, that it is regulated by the federal government, generally by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). If the prosecutor wants to charge you with a firearm crime, they will run an ATF check on the serial number. That will tell them who is the registered owner of the firearm and when it was purchased. A defaced firearm is anything that has scrubbed the serial number off of the firearm. Witling down, painting over or glazing over the serial number. Making it where the serial number is not visible or not identifiable. If the government tries to run the number and they can not because it is illegible or has been tampered with, it will be considered a defaced firearm.
If you know there is a defaced firearm around, you should be nowhere near it. If you are a felon near a firearm, the government may or may not prove that you were not in possession of the firearm. If you are a felon near a defaced firearm, you have more incriminating evidence against you. It's not necessarily a strict liability crime that if you are in possession of a firearm and it's defaced you are outright guilty. But it is as close as you can possibly get. All the prosecutor has to prove is that you had knowledge of it's existence in nature.
A person commits the crime of possession of a defaced firearm if he knowingly possesses a firearm that is defaced. There is also a charge for the act of defacing a firearm, which is an A misdemeanor but is a much less common charge.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm: D Felony
Weapons Charges FAQ's
How Krupp Law Firm Helps Your Case
The gun charge defense lawyers at Krupp Law Firm are experienced with gun-related charges. They are able to look at the evidence in your case and determine your strengths and weaknesses and whether your case should be taken to trial.
Contact a gun charge lawyer for St. Louis and St. Charles at the Krupp Law Firm for a free consultation on how to best proceed with your case.