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Does Using a Weapon Increase Criminal Penalties? Criminal Defense

Does Using a Weapon Increase Criminal Penalties?

2 years ago by Brian
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The commission of any crime is a serious matter that exposes one to serious criminal penalties, including serving prison time. If one uses a weapon in the commission of any crime, this will bring with it even greater criminal and other collateral consequences. It is essential to have the right criminal defense lawyer defending against your violent crime charges. 

Possession of a Weapon

Minnesota laws broadly define a dangerous weapon as any instrument designed to cause severe injury or death. Weapons charges are usually brought against a defendant as high misdemeanors, but certain factors, such as how one held the weapon or how the weapon is seen by anyone around the holder, can lead to more serious criminal charges or more.

Gun Crime Enhancement in Minnesota

Under Minnesota law, criminal charges can be escalated if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of a crime for which the defendant is charged. A firearm is often the most common weapon used in the commission of other crimes such as theft, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon.

The enhancement for using a weapon is made not only in the charges but also in the corresponding punishment for the crime. A gun crime enhancement can add between one to 30 years of incarceration.

Other Situations When Gun Possession Can Increase Criminal Penalties

Although owning a gun is both a federal and state constitutional right in Minnesota, there are permitted restrictions to gun ownership, and there is a long list of individuals who cannot legally possess a gun. 

If you fall in any of these categories, which is not exhaustive, and you commit a crime, then you will be facing increased criminal penalties because being in possession of the weapon is a crime itself. This is true for the following individuals, whether you intended to use the weapon in the crime or not:

  1. A person under the age of 18 may not possess a pistol or assault weapon unless under an exemption that is provided in the law.
  2. A person convicted of a crime of violence is not allowed to possess a firearm until ten years after the sentence has ended.
  3. A felon is not allowed to possess a gun regardless of the offense under which they were convicted until the time for the sentence has ended, including any period of probation or supervised release.
  4. All drug offenders, including those who have only been convicted of misdemeanors, are not allowed to possess a firearm unless they have obtained a certification from their doctor that they have been clean for two years.
  5. A person who has been convicted of assault two times in the last three years may not possess a pistol for three years from the date of the second conviction.
  6. A person convicted of stalking or harassment is not allowed to possess a pistol for three years from the date of the second conviction.

Commission of a crime when any of these restrictions apply to you will have your criminal penalties increased beyond those you are to face in the commission of the other crime for which you were arrested.

Speak with a Woodbury, MN Violent Crimes Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in which the allege use of a weapon is a factor, contact our office today for a free consultation. Our team at JS Defense, PA, is here to help.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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