What Happens If a Felon Gets Caught With a Gun?

possession of a firearm by a felon

For those who’ve faced felony convictions in the past, Colorado Springs presents a unique environment. Nestled at the foot of the Rockies, our community boasts a vibrant culture of outdoor pursuits, including hunting and recreational shooting. This love for firearms, while deeply ingrained in our local heritage, also brings with it certain responsibilities.

It’s not just about being on the wrong side of the law. It’s about the potential misunderstandings, the accidental oversights, and the unintended consequences that can arise. A simple trip to the shooting range with friends or family can transition from a joyous occasion to a legal nightmare in the blink of an eye. Being equipped with knowledge not only protects your freedom but also ensures that you can fully engage with your community without any looming shadows from the past.

A Brief Look at Colorado’s Firearm Possession Laws for Felons

At its core, the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 18-12-108 makes it crystal clear: if you’ve been convicted of a felony, you are forbidden from possessing a firearm, both during and after completing any sentence. This restriction isn’t merely a carbon copy of the federal regulations but a reflection of Colorado’s commitment to public safety and the belief in giving every resident a fair chance at reintegration without endangering the community.

Now, you might ask, what if my felony conviction was from years ago? Or what if it was for a non-violent offense? The law, unfortunately, doesn’t waver based on the nature or timing of the felony. Whether your conviction was for a violent act or a financial crime, the restriction remains.

Furthermore, this ban extends beyond just traditional firearms. Colorado’s legal framework also restricts felons from possessing other weapons, such as explosive devices or certain types of ammunition. This exhaustive approach showcases the state’s intent: to strike a balance between an individual’s rights and the greater good of the community.

These cases can be complex. Securing representation from a skilled weapons charges lawyer is not just recommended but vital to protecting your future and ensuring your defense.

Penalties for Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (POWPO)

Understanding the intricacies of the state’s firearm laws is crucial, especially if one has a prior felony conviction. One of the most stringent provisions in this context pertains to the Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, commonly referred to as POWPO.

In the state of Colorado, if a person with a prior felony conviction is caught in possession of a firearm, they can be charged with a class 6 felony. This comes with significant legal repercussions, including a potential prison sentence of 1 to 3 years and fines that can reach up to $100,000.

However, the penalties can escalate further based on the nature of the individual’s past felonies:

  • The severity of Prior Felonies: If the previous felony was related to particularly serious offenses such as burglary, arson, or any crime involving force or violence, the POWPO charge can be elevated to a class 5 felony. This would imply a harsher prison sentence and potentially greater fines.
  • Multiple Prior Convictions: Individuals with two prior felony convictions, whether in Colorado or elsewhere, can face a POWPO charge classified as a class 4 felony. With this classification, the potential prison time increases significantly.
  • Three Strikes: For those with three or more prior felony convictions, the situation becomes even graver. The POWPO charge can be upgraded to a class 3 felony, leading to even more extended incarceration periods and substantially heftier fines.

It’s essential to grasp that these are not mere technicalities. A POWPO charge can drastically alter the course of one’s life, emphasizing the need for awareness, adherence to the law, and the importance of working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if faced with such a charge.

Steps to Take if You’re A Felon Facing Firearm Charges in Colorado

Facing firearm charges, especially with a prior felony record, can be an overwhelming experience. The potential consequences are serious, but taking the right steps can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here’s a guide on how to navigate this challenging situation:

  • Stay Calm and Compliant: When confronted by law enforcement, emotions can run high, leading to unintended actions or statements. It’s of utmost importance to remain calm, even if you believe the arrest or charges are unjust. Always follow law enforcement directives to prevent any escalation. Anything you say or do can, and likely will, be used as evidence in court. The safer approach is to wait for legal representation before discussing details.
  • Contact a Defense Lawyer Immediately: Securing professional legal representation is crucial. Before answering any questions or making statements to the police, request a lawyer. The legal landscape is intricate, and having a seasoned defense attorney from the outset ensures your rights are protected and you’re navigating the process correctly. At Right Law Group, we pride ourselves on understanding the law from both sides, ensuring a thorough defense strategy for our clients.
  • Gather Evidence: Even minor details can play a significant role in the court’s decision. Start compiling any evidence relevant to your situation as early as possible. This might include security camera footage, eyewitness accounts, or any other information that can support your defense. Having a clear record can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
  • Stay Informed: While your attorney will guide you through the legal process, it’s beneficial to understand the nuances of your case. Familiarize yourself with Colorado’s firearm laws, especially as they pertain to felons. Understand the potential consequences you face and the defense strategies available. The more knowledgeable you are, the more proactive you can be in your defense.

Remember, facing firearm charges as a felon is a grave matter, but with the right approach and dedicated legal representation, you can get back on the right path.

Defending Your Rights with the Right Law Group

Meet the Right Law Group. Our dedicated criminal defense team understands the law from both sides.

With an intimate knowledge of the legal intricacies related to felon firearm possession in Colorado, we’re equipped to navigate the often-complex pathways of defense. To us, you aren’t just a case file. You’re an individual with hopes, dreams, and fears. Our commitment is to understand your unique situation and provide a tailored defense strategy.

Our primary goal is to defend your rights and guide you, step by step, through the legal process. Our track record speaks to our reliability and genuine investment in your welfare. Colorado’s legal system has its nuances. Our in-depth knowledge ensures that you’ll have a strategic, informed defense by your side.

Stand Strong Against Firearm Charges in Colorado Springs

Life after a felony conviction is filled with challenges. Yet, everyone deserves a second chance and the opportunity to move forward without constant fear. If you find yourself facing firearm possession charges as a felon in Colorado Springs, remember that there’s a team ready to stand by you, guide you, and passionately defend your rights.

Your Future is Worth Defending. If you or a loved one are grappling with the complexities of firearm possession laws in Colorado Springs, don’t navigate these troubled waters alone. Trust Right Law Group to get you back on the right path. Let’s chart a way forward together. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Author Bio

alexis austin

Alexis Austin is the CEO and Managing Partner of Right Law Group, a Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm she founded in 2018. With almost a decade of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Alexis received her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver — Sturm College of Law and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named among the “Top 40 Under 40” in 2018 by The National Trial Lawyers and featured in Authority Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” series.

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