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