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Colorado Prohibited Use of Weapons — Definitions

Colorado Springs Prohibited Use of Weapons Lawyer

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Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-106, known as the prohibited use of weapons, states that it is illegal to aim, discharge, or throw certain weapons at another person. In Colorado, this crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying consequences depending on the classification of the charge and other aggravating and mitigating factors.

Penalties for Prohibited Use of Weapons in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Prohibited Use of Weapons Misdemeanor Class 1:

  • Up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • A fine up to $1,000
Prohibited Use of Weapons Misdemeanor Class 2:

  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • A fine up to $750
Prohibited Use of Weapons Felony Class 5:

  • 1-3 years in prison
  • A fine of $1,000 to $100,000
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-12-106, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406, 18-1.3-501.)

Possible Defenses for Prohibited Use of Weapons in Colorado

The prosecutor must prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime of prohibited use of weapons. For example, they must prove that you knowingly or willingly aimed, threw, or discharged a firearm, or another weapon, at someone.

However, there are many defenses a criminal defense lawyer can use to disprove the prosecutor’s claims, including:

  • You didn’t knowingly, willingly, or recklessly throw or aim the weapon
  • You didn’t realize the weapon was loaded
  • You had the legal right to use the weapon at the time the incident occurred
  • You were wrongly accused or mistakenly identified
  • The police found the weapon during an illegal search

Colorado Revised Statutes. CRS 18-12-106:

18-12-106. Prohibited Use of Weapons – Definitions.:

(1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if:

(a) He knowingly and unlawfully aims a firearm at another person; or

(b) Recklessly or with criminal negligence he discharges a firearm or shoots a bow and arrow; or

(c) He knowingly sets a loaded gun, trap, or device designed to cause an explosion upon being tripped

or approached, and leaves it unattended by a competent person immediately present; or

(d) The person has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5). Possession of a permit issued under section 18-12-105.1, as it existed prior to its repeal, or possession of a permit or

a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article is no defense to a violation of this subsection (1).

(e) He knowingly aims, swings, or throws a throwing star or nunchaku as defined in this paragraph (e) at another person, or he knowingly possesses a throwing star or nunchaku in a public place except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition or pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class. When transporting throwing stars or nunchaku for a public demonstration or exhibition or for a school or class, they shall be transported in a closed, nonaccessible container.

For purposes of this paragraph (e), “nunchaku” means an instrument consisting of two sticks, clubs, bars, or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire, or chain, which is in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense, and “throwing star” means a disk having sharp radiating points or any disk-shaped bladed object which is hand-held and thrown and which is in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense.

Have You Been Charged With Prohibited Use of Weapons in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

Many people are unaware of the laws regarding weapons charges in Colorado. You could be using or holding a weapon without being aware that your actions are illegal.

For the prosecutor to convict you, they must convince the jury that you recklessly or knowingly aimed, threw, or discharged a weapon, such as a firearm, bow, throwing star, or nunchaku.

A criminal conviction requires that the jury finds you guilty of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. However, a criminal defense lawyer can use several defenses to dismiss or reduce this charge. To understand how to defend yourself against this charge, you need a reliable and experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney from Right Law Group on your side. Contact our office today for a free consultation.


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Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I go to jail for prohibited use of weapons in Colorado?

If convicted of prohibited use of weapons in Colorado you could face between 120 days to 3 years incarceration, depending on the classification of the crime.

Do I need a criminal defense attorney if I am planning on pleading guilty?

While technically you are not required to hire a criminal defense attorney if you plan to plead guilty, it is advisable to work with a lawyer. A criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and attempt to reduce your charge so you have fewer penalties. A criminal defense attorney can also work with you to make sure that the charge you are pleading to is appropriate. Many times people without lawyers plead guilty to things that legally they were not even guilty of doing. You do not want to plead to a felony charge if the most you could be legally responsible for is a misdemeanor offense.

Can I be charged with prohibited use of weapons if I do not fire a gun?

Yes, you can be charged with prohibited use of weapons for holding a firearm, even if you do not fire it. Additionally, aiming a gun at someone can be considered gross criminal negligence and may be enough to have you charged with further crimes such as menacing.