Weapons Crimes Attorney In St. Louis, Missouri
Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, when that mistake involves a weapon, the consequences can be life-altering. A conviction can strip you of your right to own a gun, and if your crime is prosecuted in federal court, you are likely facing much more severe penalties and a mandatory state prison sentence.
Crimes that involve weapons are complex and include a careful analysis of evidence and surrounding circumstances. At The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith, I possess the skill and experience needed to navigate these cases with personal care and confidence. Regardless of whether you are facing state or federal charges, I can explain the laws pertaining to weapons and discuss possible strategies that may be used in your defense. I serve clients in and throughout St. Louis, Missouri, area.
Common Weapons Charges In Missouri
Despite Missouri not having as restrictive laws about firearm possession, any crime that involves a weapon instantly becomes more serious.
Any time you face a possible weapons charge in the state of Missouri, it is a serious offense. Because of its serious nature, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These charges can include:
- Defacing a firearm
- Fraudulent purchase of a firearm
- Illegal sale of a firearm
- Breaking local weapon ordinances
- Unlawful use of a weapon
- Armed criminal action*
*Of these listed, armed criminal action is an extremely serious charge as it involves the use of a weapon when committing a crime.
Vigorously Protecting Your Rights
Missouri Open Handgun Carry Law
Missouri is a permissive carry state. This means that you can openly carry a handgun anywhere they are not prohibited. Missourians at any age can carry, but under federal law, a person must be at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun and 18 to purchase a rifle. In Missouri, a law-abiding citizen may openly carry in:
- Restaurants and bars (as long as the possession of firearms on such premises is not prohibited)
- Personal vehicle
- Roadside areas
- State parks, forests and wildlife management areas
Unlawful Carrying Of Weapons
Despite being a permissive carry state, there are restrictions on the types of firearms that may be carried. This includes assault weapons that are illegal to manufacture, sell or possess.
In addition, an individual may be charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon if they:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carry a weapon on their body or in their car
- Are engaged in committing a crime
- Are prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon
- Are a member of a known criminal street gang
Where Weapons Are Prohibited
Missouri gun laws prohibit the possession of a firearm or deadly weapons in the following:
- A K-12 school, school bus or anywhere a school function is taking place
- A church or place of worship
- An election precinct or polling place
- A federal or state government building
It is important to note that there are many exceptions and restrictions for when and where weapons may be prohibited. Gun and weapon owners are expected to be in full understanding of these exceptions, and claiming ignorance of the law is rarely a legitimate defense.
Weapons come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it is paramount for gun owners to know what forms of weapons are illegal in their state. The following is a brief list of unlawful weapons in Missouri:
- Firearms resulting in explosive discharges
- Federally banned gas guns
- Firearms with exploding bullets or projectiles
- Guns with shortened barrels also called “sawed-off” guns
- Machine gun weapons
- Silencers added to any firearm
The possible penalties for weapons crimes vary greatly depending on the charges against you. Along with potentially losing your right to own a firearm, a misdemeanor can carry hefty fines, possible probation and time served in county jail. If your case is prosecuted in federal court, a conviction can impose a lengthy term of incarceration in state prison. Either way, even after paying fines and serving time, the impact of a conviction is long-lasting as it will permanently remain on your criminal record. This creates difficulty in finding employment, housing and financial credit.
Weapons Crimes Attorney Serving St. Louis, Missouri
Owning a firearm is a privilege and poor judgment can lead to an abundance of legal problems. When your freedom is on the line, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate the charges and evidence against you. If you or a loved one has been accused of using a weapon unlawfully or in the midst of committing a crime, I can use my extensive knowledge to vigorously pursue the best possible outcome. Contact The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith to schedule a consultation and learn more about the ways I can help.