Have You Been Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Weapon in Georgia?
Georgia has a myriad of laws relating to weapon possession. The penalties range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges with lengthy prison terms and extensive fines. If you or a loved one has been charged with a weapons-related crime in Georgia, contact one of our Georgia Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Weapon Lawyers now. Our team has more than 50 combined years of criminal defense experience.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Weapon in Georgia
According to O.C.G.A. § 16-11-123,
A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of firearms or weapons when they knowingly have in their possession a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer.
However, that statute does not apply to:
- A peace officer of any duly authorized police agency of this state or of any political subdivision thereof, or a law enforcement officer of any department or agency of the United States who is regularly employed and paid by the United States, this state, or any such political subdivision, or an employee of the Department of Corrections of this state who is authorized in writing by the commissioner of corrections to transfer or possess such firearms while in the official performance of his duties;
- A member of the National Guard or of the armed forces of the United States to wit: the army, navy, marine corps, air force, or coast guard who, while serving therein, possesses such firearm in the line of duty;
- Any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer which has been modified or changed to the extent that it is inoperative. Examples of the requisite modification include weapons with their barrel or barrels filled with lead, hand grenades filled with sand, or other nonexplosive materials;
- Possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer by a person who is authorized to possess the same because he has registered the sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer in accordance with the dictates of the National Firearms Act, 68A Stat. 725 (26 U.S.C. Sections 5481-5862); and
- A security officer employed by a federally licensed nuclear power facility or a licensee of such facility, including a contract security officer, who is trained and qualified under a security plan approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission or other federal agency authorized to regulate nuclear facility security; provided, however, that this exemption shall apply only while such security officer is acting in connection with his or her official duties on the premises of such nuclear power facility or on properties outside the facility property pursuant to a written agreement entered into with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the facility. The exemption under this paragraph does not include the possession of silencers. (O.C.G.A. §16-11-124).
What is Considered a Dangerous Weapon in Georgia?
A “dangerous weapon” means any weapon commonly known as a rocket launcher, “bazooka,” or recoilless rifle which fires explosive or nonexplosive rockets designed to injure or kill personnel or destroy heavy armor, or similar weapon used for such purpose. The term shall also mean a weapon commonly known as a “mortar” which fires high explosive from a metallic cylinder and which is commonly used by the armed forces as an antipersonnel weapon or similar weapon used for such purpose. The term shall also mean a weapon commonly known as a “hand grenade” or other similar weapon which is designed to explode and injure personnel or similar weapon used for such purpose. O.C.G.A. §16-11-121(1)
Georgia Case Law
In the case of Blankenship v. State, the court convicted the defendant of unlawful possession of a firearm. The evidence showed that officers arrived at the residence to execute a search warrant. The officers requested to enter a locked room where the defendant was the only person with the key. Inside the room, they found an 18-inch sawed-off shotgun. Therefore the court found the defendant guilty of violating O.C.G.A. §16-11-123.
Penalty for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Georgia
A person convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm in Georgia will be guilty of a felony. The punishment will be a prison term of five years. In addition to the lengthy prison term, a felony conviction can have lasting consequences. After prison, having a felony on your record can make it difficult to obtain housing, employment, or even credit.
Defenses to Unlawful Possession of a Weapon or Firearm in Georgia
Lack of knowledge: The statute requires that the accused knowingly have a weapon in their possession. Evidence to support that the accused did not know they had a weapon would be greatly beneficial to their case.
The accused did not have a firearm in their possession: If the officer mistakenly deemed a firearm to be in your possession, but someone else had possession, that would be a great defense.
Mistaken identity: We frequently help clients that were misidentified by the police or witnesses because they had similar characteristics as the actual perpetrator.
Lack of evidence: A possible defense is to present evidence showing that you were not aware of the illegal weapon being in your possession.
There are always Georgia Criminal Defenses your Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in Georgia Lawyers can use to assist with your case. Our 50 combined years of experience give you the upper hand with unparalleled experience in criminal defense. We will thoroughly investigate your case to develop a strong defense to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Contact Us Now
Weapons related charges in Georgia are not to be taken lightly. We can assure you that we care about your case just as much as you do, and we will do everything we can to fight the charges! Our firm is just as experienced with trying cases as we are negotiating out of court. We guarantee you will receive one of a kind representation when you partner with us. Call now and see how our Georgia Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Attorneys will make a difference in your case.