Prosecutors in the State of Washington can charge persons with a variety of different firearm crimes. Two of the most common include:
- Unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree; and,
- Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.
Both offenses are found under RCW 9.41.040. These charges are sometimes to referred to as “VUFA” (violation of the uniform firearm act) or “UPFA” (unlawful possession of firearm) charges. If a person has been charged with a crime under this statute, or with any other firearm related offense, you should contact our firm’s dedicated and smart firearm attorneys now.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree
An accused can be convicted of this offense provided that the following are proven true:
- The defendant had been previously convicted of a “serious offense,” or plead not guilty to such an offense by reason of insanity; and,
- He was caught owning a firearm, or with one in his possession or within his control.
Please note that a “serious offense” under Washington law includes, but is not limited to:
- Any crime of violence;
- Child molestation in the second degree;
- Leading organized crime;
- Promoting prostitution in the first degree;
- Rape in the third degree;
- Drive-by shooting;
- Vehicular assault by a person under the influence;
- Vehicular homicide by a person under the influence; and,
- Any other felony with a deadly weapon.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree is a class B felony in Washington. The offense is punishable by:
- Up to ten years in prison; and/or,
- A maximum fine of $20,000.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the Second Degree
A defendant can be convicted of this offense provided that he owns a firearm or has one in his possession or control; and, one of the following is true:
- The defendant had been previously convicted of a certain felony, or pled not guilty to the same by reason of insanity; or,
- Owned or possessed the firearm during any period of time that the person was subject to a court order.
“Certain felonies,” for purposes of this offense include, but are not limited to:
- Assault in the fourth degree;
- Reckless endangerment; and,
- Criminal trespass in the first degree.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree is a class C felony. The crime is punishable by:
- Up to five years in prison; and/or,
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Legal Defenses to Charges of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Persons accused of these crimes must know that there are legal defenses that they can raise to either beat the charges or reduce them. For example, a defendant can show that while he owned or possessed a firearm, he did not have any prior convictions. It is important to note, however, that the best defenses will require the skill of an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney – in Seattle or in any other town or city in the State.
The firm of Black & Askerov PLLC has the talent and experience that makes a difference. Our firm’s attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience with beating firearm crimes. These attorneys are also tireless in their efforts and will go to every length to ensure that their clients are educated and informed with every aspect of their case. Contact us now and let us provide the hope and help you deserve.