Click for free consultation

Common Weapon Misconduct Charges in Arizona

Posted on September 17, 2023 in

Law enforcement agencies in Arizona take gun crimes and weapon misconduct charges very seriously. The state’s district attorneys tend to aggressively prosecute them due to the violent and destructive nature of gun crimes and the media’s interest in the escalating numbers of violent crimes involving guns in the U.S.

In some cases, misunderstanding of the law can result in an Arizona resident facing weapon misconduct charges. Everyone deserves a strong defense, but the first defense against the accusation of a weapons crime is understanding common weapon misconduct charges in Arizona.

What is a “Deadly Weapon?”

Before you can understand common weapon misconduct charges in Arizona, it’s important to know how the law defines “deadly weapon.” Under A.R.S. § 13-3102 a deadly weapon is anything designed for lethal use. This is opposed to other items that may be used as weapons but weren’t designed as weapons—such as a baseball bat. The law defines items not designed as weapons but used in violent crimes as “dangerous instruments.” Arizona’s weapons misconduct statute refers only to deadly weapons, meaning those designed as weapons. These include all firearms such as:

  • Handguns
  • Rifles
  • Shotguns
  • Pistols
  • Revolvers
  • Or any weapon that fires a projectile through a barrel

What Are Prohibited Possessors and Prohibited Weapons?

Any individual prohibited from possessing a firearm under the law is known as a prohibited possessor. Many of the state’s weapon misconduct charges refer to prohibited possessors. These include the following:

  • Anyone under a court order prohibiting them from possessing a deadly weapon
  • Anyone convicted of a crime and currently under probation, parole, work release, or community supervision
  • Anyone found guilty except from insanity in a court of law
  • Anyone with a felony conviction
  • Non-documented aliens and those visiting the U.S. from other countries
  • Individuals who have undergone Rule 11 Court and were found incompetent

The law also refers to prohibited weapons. This includes all weapons that are illegal to possess in Arizona regardless of whether or not the possessor has a criminal record. Weapons like bombs, fully automatic weapons, sawed-off firearms, silencers, and improvised explosive devices are all prohibited weapons.

Common Charges of Weapon Misconduct in Arizona

Arizona criminal courts state that an individual commits weapon misconduct if they knowingly do the following:

  • Carry a concealed deadly weapon except a pocket knife or have one within reach inside a vehicle
  • Manufacture possess, sell, or transport a prohibited weapon
  • Possess a deadly weapon if the person is a prohibited possessor
  • Sell or transfer a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor
  • Deface a deadly weapon or possess a known defaced deadly weapon (defacing refers to removing a serial number)
  • Use or possess a deadly weapon to commit a felony
  • Discharge a firearm at an occupied dwelling or structure
  • Carry a deadly weapon while entering a public establishment or event unless authorized by law
  • Carry a deadly weapon into an election polling place during an election unless authorized by law
  • Possess a deadly weapon on school grounds
  • Carry a deadly weapon into a nuclear or hydroelectric facility
  • Sell or give a firearm to another person with reason to know the person plans to use it to commit a felony
  • Use a deadly weapon to commit an act of terrorism
  • Traffick weapons or explosives for financial gain or for gang activity, racketeering, or organized criminal enterprise

The consequences of a conviction for any of the above charges of weapon misconduct vary, depending on the type of misconduct and whether or not it’s a misdemeanor crime or a felony. Any charge of weapon misconduct in Arizona is serious and a conviction could be life-altering. If you’re facing a weapons charge, it’s important to speak to a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer with experience in representing defendants charged with these crimes.