Release Condition from Jail on Misdemeanors and Felonies: Firearm | Gun Prohibitions. A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Prospective
When someone is Arraigned on a crime, Release Conditions can include bail, no contact orders and prohibitions on the possession of firearms | guns or other dangerous weapons. Our clients who are avid hunters, members of a police department or any armed force, have concealed pistol licenses, or have any weapon collection, need to immediately start thinking and educating themselves on this issue of release conditions if they believe they may be facing criminal charges. As criminal defense lawyers | attorneys, we know the limitations on access or dangerous weapons or guns in Washington almost always boil down to the Revised Code of Washington 9.41.800 and/or RCW 9.41.040. That being said, we have some generalized advice:
As soon as possible, give your personal firearms | guns | deadly weapons to a trusted friend or family member for safe keeping.
As criminal defense lawyers | attorneys, the first piece of advice we always have for any client involved in a domestic violence case, felony involving dangerous weapons or firearms, or any felony is to give your dangerous weapons, firearms and ammunition to a responsible friend or family member to keep, pending the outcome of your case. If possible, have them come and pick up the weapons and transport them so there is no confusion that involves you getting pulled over with a car full of ammunition, gun and/or dangerous weapons. This situation is a terrible way to start a criminal case and is easy to avoid by following our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys’ advice.
At arraignments, courts can and do order defendants to turn in firearms to the local sheriff or police; getting them back at the end of a case is not always easy. More importantly, taking this practical step lets a court know upfront that you are reasonable and trying to take steps to make the judge’s job easier. Remember, part of a court’s job is to assess and minimize the risk that each defendant represents to the victims, witnesses and community. Taking a proactive approach can have a positive impact on a judge’s point of view and this can result in less restrictive release conditions or lower bail. Though each case and fact pattern is different, our point is choosing to minimize the risk you represent up front and that is always better than being ordered to do something. We have seen judges on domestic violence gross misdemeanor charges go out of their way to assure possession for purposes of employment because our clients listened to our advice and brought in the family or friend who took possession to assure the judge that the personal weapons had been removed.
Arraigned on Felony Charges
Sometimes, there is tension between the desires of local and state government and the US Constitution and the Washington State Constitution. If one is presumed innocent of a charge until proven guilty, how can one legitimately prohibit someone from possessing a firearm? The short answer is that there must a legitimate reason. Washington has carved out various exceptions to the right to possess a firearm. In general, they can be summed up based on: (1) the seriousness of the underlying felony charge, (2) whether the crime charged involved using, displaying or threatening to use a deadly weapon(s), and (3) did the crime involve domestic violence. Answering the question of possession rights to specific crime during the pendency of a felony charge will require a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer | attorney as the analysis is highly fact specific; however, if you think any of the above categories apply to your facts, chances are good you will be asked to surrender your firearms or deadly weapons as well as a concealed weapon permit and be prohibited from seeking to purchase or own more firearms until your case is resolved. Felony convictions carry a whole other host of problems with State Law and Federal law.
Arraigned on Misdemeanors and Gross Misdemeanors Charges
In our experience as criminal defense attorneys | lawyers, the likelihood of being prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon or firearm or concealed weapon permit goes down considerably in misdemeanor charges. In general, again, if you use a deadly weapon or firearm as part of the crime, are charged with threatening or harassing behavior or the crime involves an accusation of domestic violence, the chances go up considerably that a judge will order you not to possess firearms or deadly weapons. We have seen judges in 4 different counties go out of their way to allow possession of firearms for purposes of employment where the facts did not involve deadly weapons, firearms, threats to kill, stalking or other “dangerous” conduct. In each case, this was to assure our clients retained their rights to possess firearms as part of their active duty or employment.
Our firm has a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys work as a team and are highly experienced in dealing with the courtrooms and fact specific arguments surrounding criminal charges. Our lawyers know that criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police report claim and our clients retain us early on in the process to make sure their rights are protected. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. The first step in evaluating counsel is to set up an appointment.