Have You Been Charged with Possession of Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Crimes in Georgia?
It is well known that crimes such as murder, armed robbery, and burglary are serious offenses that come with intense consequences. However, people are often unaware that possession of a firearm or knife during a crime or an attempt to commit a crime can also result in significant penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of a firearm during commission or attempt of certain crimes or another weapons offense in Georgia, contact us now for a free no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers have over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience and will fervently protect your rights, future, and freedom.
Georgia Law on Possession of Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Crimes
The laws regarding possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes can be found in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-106. A person will have violated this statute if they have a firearm or a knife on or within arm's reach that has a blade of three or more inches during the commission, or the attempt to commit:
(1) Any crime against or involving the person of another;
(2) The unlawful entry into a building or vehicle;
(3) A theft from a building or theft of a vehicle;
(4) Any crime involving the possession, manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administering, selling, or possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance or marijuana as provided in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30, any counterfeit substance as defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-21, or any noncontrolled substance as provided in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30.1; or
(5) Any crime involving the trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, or illegal drugs as provided in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31.
Georgia Case Law
The crime of unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime is distinct from the predicate felony. Therefore, you can be charged and convicted of both offenses. For example, in the case of Garner v. State, the defendant was convicted of both aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Garner v. State, 342 Ga. App. 824, (2017).
The court convicted the accused of possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime in the case of Green v. State. In that case, the court found sufficient evidence to support a conviction when during the commission of attempted trafficking of marijuana, a handgun was found in the floorboard where the defendant's legs had been immediately before he was ordered out of the vehicle. Green v State, 298 Ga. App. 17, (2009).
However, in the case of Williams v. State, the court found insufficient evidence to convict the accused of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony. The accused was convicted of trafficking drugs, but the court was unable to convict on the possession of firearm charge because the evidence of the gun's location was hearsay testimony by the police officers. Williams v. State, 279 Ga. App. 83, (2006).
In the case of Smith v. State, the court found the defendant guilty of possessing a firearm during a kidnapping and rape even when it was hanging in the rear window of the truck and was never used. The accused argued at trial that there was insufficient evidence to convict for possession a firearm. However, the court found that since the rifle was within arm's reach of where the accused violated the victim and held her against her will, there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction. Smith v. State, 214 Ga. App. 631, (1994).
Penalty for Possession of Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Crimes
A conviction for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes will be treated as a felony punishable by five years in prison, along with any other sentence the accused has received.
For a second conviction, the accused faces a ten-year prison term. This sentence cannot be suspended by the court or replaced by a probation period.
In addition to the punishment for possession of a firearm or knife, the accused may also face penalties for the underlying crime as well. They will be considered separate offenses.
Furthermore, having a felony on your criminal history can make life difficult. It can be challenging to obtain credit, employment, or housing with a felony on your record. That is why we encourage people to know their options and to speak with an experienced Georgia Possession of Firearms Attorney. Our decades of experience as weapon crimes attorneys in Georgia gives us the upper hand when negotiating your case with the prosecution. When your future and freedom are on the line, don't waste time in hiring an attorney.
Georgia Defenses to Possession of Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Crimes
Insufficient Evidence: We frequently represent clients where after combing through their case, realize an arrest was made without sufficient evidence. We are experienced in bringing forth motions and getting cases dismissed based on a lack of evidence.
The firearm or knife was not within arm's reach: The court looks at whether the weapon was within arm's reach during the commission of the crime. Your possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit a crime attorney can use evidence showing it was beyond reach to obtain a dismissal of the charge.
The knife was shorter than three inches: If the knife that was possessed during the commission of a felony was shorter than three inches, then there will not be sufficient evidence to support this conviction.
There was no attempt or commission of a crime: If the accused was in possession of a firearm or knife, but it was not used in relation to a crime, then there has not been a violation under the statute.
Legal justification for possession of a firearm: If the firearm was used for self-defense, or defense of others, that would be an absolute defense.
Innocence: We understand that you may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. We also see when defendants are chosen out of a lineup of possible suspects and the wrong one selected because of similar characteristics. If you have an alibi for the time the crime occurred, call us now.
No matter what the particulars of your case may be, there are always Georgia Criminal Defenses at your disposal. Our possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime lawyers have more than 20 years of experience in exclusively criminal law. We are proficient in reaching resolutions outside of trial but are also extremely capable of taking your case to trial. However, we will discuss all your options with you before you choose how to proceed with your situation.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with a weapon crime, you are facing severe penalties that will put your future and freedom at risk. We are experienced in handling weapons possession cases and want to help you achieve the best possible result for your case. We have built relationships with prosecutors throughout Georgia that will help you get the best result. Call now for a free no-obligation consultation.