Gun Charges in Tennessee
Gun charges are taken very seriously in Tennessee, and in recent years, jurisdictions like Davidson County have been cracking down hard on firearms-related offenses. Law enforcement and prosecutors are relentless in their efforts to reduce gun violence and ensure public safety, making it more critical than ever to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side if you are facing gun charges.
One consequence of being charged with a firearms-related offense is the potential seizure of your weapon. In most cases, once your gun is seized, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to recover it. Law enforcement agencies in Tennessee have the authority to confiscate weapons involved in criminal cases, and the process of attempting to reclaim a seized firearm can be time-consuming, costly, and often unsuccessful - on top of what you are already facing. Let's examine some of the gun charges in Tennessee you may facing.
Understanding Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon Charges in Tennessee
Tennessee Code 39-17-1307 outlines several ways a person can be charged with unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, including:
- Intentionally carrying a firearm or club with the intent to go armed
- Unlawfully possessing a firearm after a felony conviction involving violence, a deadly weapon, or a drug offense
- Possessing a handgun after a felony conviction, unless pardoned, expunged, or civil rights have been restored
- Possessing a deadly weapon (not a firearm) with the intent to use it during certain criminal offenses
The consequences for unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon depend on the specific charge and circumstances involved:
- First offense: Class C misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500 and possible imprisonment
- Second or subsequent offense: Class B misdemeanor
- Carrying a handgun in a public place with others present: Class A misdemeanor
- Unlawful possession of a firearm after a violent felony or attempt: Class B felony
- Unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony drug offense: Class C felony
- Possession of a handgun after a felony conviction: Class E felony
- Possession of a deadly weapon with intent to use it during certain offenses: Class E felony (maximum fine of $6,000 if it's a switchblade knife)
Several defenses can be explored when facing unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon charges:
- Proving a lack of intent to go armed
- Demonstrating lawful possession of the weapon
- Establishing that the weapon was carried or possessed in a motor vehicle or boat in compliance with the law
- Showing that the individual falls under specific exceptions (e.g., military personnel or veterans) allowing them to lawfully carry a handgun
Felon in possession of a handgun charges, as outlined in Tennessee Code 39-17-1307, can be quite complicated. The prosecution doesn't need to prove much, as the mere presence of a gun in the defendant's immediate vicinity can be sufficient evidence. This offense is also a federal crime, which could lead to further complications when negotiating plea deals.
For example, if you plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun, you've admitted to committing the offense. If the sentence isn't appropriately negotiated, the Federal Government could step in and pursue additional charges.
Furthermore, as per TCA 40-35-501(y), the time served for this offense has specific requirements:
- There's no release eligibility until the defendant has served 85% of the imposed sentence, minus any earned and retained sentence credits.
- Sentence reduction credits authorized by § 41-21-236 or any other law shall not reduce the percentage of the imposed sentence below 70% before becoming release eligible.
The offenses that fall under this category include:
- Unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony crime of violence, an attempt to commit a felony crime of violence, or a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon (§ 39-17-1307(b)(1)(A))
- Unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony drug offense (§ 39-17-1307(b)(1)(B))
- Unlawful possession of a handgun by a person convicted of a felony (§ 39-17-1307(c))
- Unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun (§ 39-17-1320)
Considering the complexities and potential consequences of a felon in possession of a handgun charge, it's crucial to work with an experienced attorney in the Nashville and Franklin area. Our team can help you navigate these challenges, craft the best possible defense strategy, and negotiate favorable outcomes for your case. Contact us today to discuss your options and receive the expert guidance you need.
Consulting an experienced attorney is crucial to assess your case and determine the most effective defense strategy. Our team in the Nashville and Franklin area is prepared to help you navigate your Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon case. Reach out to us today to discuss your options and get the professional guidance you need to protect your future.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Ballard Law.