Virginia’s gun laws are complicated. Our commonwealth is an open carry state, which means that people in our state are allowed to carry a handgun in public if it is visible.
However, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon unless a person has a permit. If they do not have a permit or violate the requirements of their permit when carrying a hidden weapon, they could face criminal charges and harsh penalties if convicted. Here’s what you need to know if you or a loved one is charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
What Must Be Shown to Convict Someone of Violating Virginia’s Concealed Weapon Law?
Under Virginia Code §18.2-308, it is a crime for an individual to carry a weapon about their person that is hidden from common observation without a valid permit. To be about their person, a weapon must be readily accessible for use.
There are many weapons covered under the concealed weapon statute that require an individual to obtain a permit to carry them while hidden. Weapons included under the law include:
- Pistol, revolver, or other type of gun
- Dirk, bowie, switchblade or ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack
- Nunchucks, fighting chains, or other flailing instruments that consist of two or more rigid parts that allow them to swing freely
- Throwing star, oriental dart, or other disc with at least two points or pointed blades that are designed to be thrown or propelled
There are a number of exceptions where a person can legally carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
What Are the Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit?
Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted, a person can be punished as follows:
- First offense. A first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
- Second offense. If this is a second offense, an individual would be charged with a Class 6 felony. If they are convicted, their punishment could include a prison sentence of one to five years and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- Third offense. A third or subsequent offense would be a Class 5 felony that carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Don’t Delay Contacting a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, you face serious punishments and long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and develop a strong defense to fight the charges you face. To learn more about how we can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious office, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.