According to the National Institute of Justice, 467,321 people were victims of a crime involving a firearm in 2011. In the same year, the FBI has reported that 68% of the murders committed nationwide involved the use of a firearm, and firearms were used in 41% of robberies committed and 21% of aggravated assaults committed in the United States. As you might imagine, the use or mere presence of a gun during the commission of a crime elevates the seriousness of the offense and the punishments imposed on an offender as a result of a criminal conviction. Criminal offenses involving weapons are investigated and prosecuted aggressively.
Arizona is home to some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. Any individual over the age of 21, who is not prohibited from owning a firearm, can carry a gun openly or concealed without any type of permit. Although gun control laws in our state are very non-restrictive, any crime committed with a firearm is taken very seriously in a court of law.
Armed Robbery Laws in Arizona
Under A.R.S. § 13-1902, robbery is defined as the act of taking property off of someone’s person or their immediate presence against their will with the threat or use of force. Simple robbery is classified as a class four felony. However, the use or threatened use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery changes the classification of the crime to armed robbery.
Penalties for Armed Robbery in Arizona
Armed robbery is considered a class two felony, and normally, the presumptive sentence for a class two felony is five years in prison for first time offenders. However, due to the fact that a gun was used during the commission of the crime, armed robbery falls under a class of offenses known as “dangerous offenses.”
A dangerous nature offense, in the context of armed robbery with a gun, is defined as an offense involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon. So, if you are convicted of armed robbery, you will be sentenced according to the dangerous offense guidelines in which case a class two felony carries a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years in prison, as long as you have not committed a dangerous offense in the past. Those with prior dangerous nature conviction(s) may face even stiffer sentencing ranges.
What is First Degree Burglary?
Burglary, unlike robbery, involves stealing property from a structure such as a home or business, and there are different classifications for burglary as a criminal offense which are first, second, and third degree burglary. The circumstances surrounding the crime itself will determine which classification the burglary charge falls under.
First degree burglary involves committing a burglary while knowingly possessing a firearm or some other deadly weapon. First degree burglary is considered a Class Three felony when the structure involved is a business or a residential or commercial fenced in yard. If the burglary was of a residence, first degree burglary is then charged as a Class Two felony.
Second degree burglary involves the burglary into a residential structure and is classified as a Class Three felony and carries a potential prison range of 2.0 to 8.75 years.
Third degree burglary involves the burglary into a non-residential structure (such as a car or a fenced commercial yard) and is classified as a Class Four felony and carries a potential prison range of 1.0 to 3.75 years.
Possession of a Firearm by Prohibited Person
Both federal and Arizona law prohibit possessing, transferring, selling, and/or owning a firearm by a person who has been previously convicted of a felony offense or is currently under indictment.
Under A.R.S. § 13-3102, various activities involving firearms are proscribed by statute including defacing a serial number, possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, discharging a firearm at an occupied structure or in furtherance of a criminal street gang, and/or possessing a firearm during a felony drug offense. Arizona law also prohibits carrying certain types of weapons (such as silencers, short-barrelled rifles, fully-automatic weapons) without proper federal licensures.
Federal law similarly prohibits a person who has been convicted of a prior felony offense from possessing a firearm; as well as persons who are fugitives from justice; addicted to controlled substances (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S. Code § 802); an illegal alien; discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions, renounced his/her United States citizenship; subject of a restraining order; and/or previously convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense. See 18 U.S. Code § 822(g).
The Gun Control Act also makes it a crime for any person who is under indictment for a felony offense to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition. 18 U.S. Code § 922(n).
Federal firearms laws also prohibit transactions in and possession of certain types of firearms, which include but are not limited to: (1) transfer or possession of a machine gun under 18 U.S. Code § 922(o); (2) manufacture, importation, sale, or possession of any firearm not detectable by airport security devices under 18 U.S. Code § 922(p); and (3) possession, sale, or manufacture of a firearm not registered as required by the National Firearms Act (“NFA”) under 26 U.S. Code § 5861(d).
If you are convicted any firearms offense, under either Arizona or federal law, the potential sentence you could be facing is severe. Weapons offenses can be very serious. If you or a loved one are faced with any charges involving weapons, you should consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights and defend your liberty.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Tucson, AZ
A crime involving the use of a weapon, especially a firearm, is a serious matter regardless of the circumstances, and state prosecutors tend to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. As such, you should always consult with an experienced aggressive criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged or accused of a crime.
At the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, our Tucson criminal attorneys are dedicated to seeking justice through thorough vigorous legal representation. A criminal conviction could change your life forever, but you don’t have to go through this stressful situation alone. Call the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, today for a free consultation to find out how a criminal attorney can help with your case.