Unlawful Use of a Weapon While in Possession of a Controlled Substance in Missouri
November 10, 2021
The consequences for the unlawful use of a weapon in Missouri are severe. That’s especially true if you’re convicted of possessing a controlled substance (sufficient for a felony offense) while also possessing an otherwise legal firearm. A conviction could lead to prison, fines, and a criminal record.
With that in mind, individuals facing unlawful use of weapons charges are recommended to consult with an experienced Missouri gun charge lawyer. A proven weapons attorney can investigate your case, search for police errors, present compelling arguments in your defense, and negotiate for dropped or reduced charges with the prosecution.
Contact a firearms lawyer at Kirsch & Kirsch today for your free initial consultation. Continue reading to learn more about the unlawful use of a weapon in Missouri while possessing a controlled substance.
What Constitutes Unlawful Use of a Weapon?
Generally, Missouri weapons laws stipulate that a person commits the crime of unlawfully using a weapon if they intentionally commit one or more of the following acts, but not limited to:
- Carry a concealed weapon without a permit
- Fire a gun into a building used for gathering people
- “Flash” or show a deadly weapon in a manner deemed threatening
- Negligently handling a potentially deadly weapon while under the influence of alcohol
- Firing a lethal weapon within 100 yards of schools, churches, or court
- Discharging a gun on or across a publicly used highway
- Carrying a gun (or similarly lethal weapon) into a church, election precinct, or any government property
- Possessing a firearm (loaded or unloaded) onto school property
- Discharging a weapon towards an individual or structure while in a moving automobile
It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to the laws listed above for certain protected groups like law enforcement, corrections officers, military service members, and the like.
Possessing a Gun While in Possession of a Controlled Substance
Per RSMo. 571.1(11), An individual is guilty of the illegal use of a weapon if they knowingly possess a firearm while also knowingly possessing an illegal controlled substance. Defendants who possess an otherwise legal firearm while simultaneously possessing a controlled substance face felony unlawful weapons charges and drug charges.
What’s The Sentence For Unlawful Use of a Weapon in Missouri?
Individuals charged with unlawful use of weapons offenses in Missouri face a Class D felony under most circumstances. The penalties for unlawful use of a weapon include 24 hours to 365 days in jail or up to 4 years in Missouri state prison. Further, convicted defendants can be ordered to pay up to $5k in fines.
It’s important to note that there are exceptions. In some cases, unlawful use of weapon charges may only lead to a misdemeanor offense. However, individuals who face charges of possessing a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm face much stiffer penalties. Learn more below.
Penalties for Unlawful Use of a Weapon While in Possession of a Controlled Substance
Suppose you’re charged and convicted of possessing a firearm (that’s otherwise legal) while in possession of an unlawful controlled substance (sufficient for a felony violation). In that case, you could face penalties for weapons charges and Class D felony drug charges.
Individuals convicted of a Class D felony drug charge face up to seven years in prison, and fines. If you’ve been charged with weapons offenses and drug offenses in Missouri, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Jefferson City criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How to Defend Against Illegal Weapons Charges
The penalties for unlawful use of a weapon while in possession of a controlled substance sufficient for a felony can be life-altering. An experienced unlawful use of weapons attorney can mount several defenses on your behalf, depending on the circumstances of your case. Commonly cited defenses to firearm offenses in Missouri include:
- You were not “knowingly” in possession of a controlled substance
- You did not possess a controlled substance sufficient for a felony
- You were not in possession of a deadly weapon
- Mistaken identity
- Unconstitutional search, seizure, or arrest
- Other mitigating factors
Contact a Firearm Lawyers At Kirsch & Kirsch
If you’re charged with gun offenses and drug charges at the same time, you could face severe penalties if convicted. Our weapons charges attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch understand what’s at stake, and will not stop until we secure the best possible outcome for you under the circumstances. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.