Gun Charges & Weapons Offenses
The current atmosphere in St. Louis and it surrounding municipalities has made a weapon or gun charge extremely serious. The government spends a lot of time and money prosecuting these charges, and the courts are not taking gun charges lightly. Judges are reluctant to release a defendant charged with a gun crime. Prosecuting attorneys are reluctant to offer probation. This makes the defense of weapon and gun charges especially challenging. The defense of weapon and gun charges requires skill and experience.
If you are facing a weapons or gun charge, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. The attorneys at Muhlenkamp & Bernsen Attorneys at Law, LLC have served clients throughout the St. Louis area facing criminal charges such as weapons charges. We are knowledgeable about the law and can help you navigate what can often be viewed as a confusing justice system.
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Weapons Charges in Missouri
Ten years ago it was common for a court to release a defendant charged with a Class D Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon with a bond of $500 or $1000. Those days have long passed. Now, in the current climate here in St. Louis, a defendant charged with a weapon or gun offense needs experienced counsel to distinguish his case from others. This will help ensure your release on bond in a timely manner. It will also help you obtain the best disposition possible on your weapon or gun charge.
Charges such as unlawful use of a weapon can take on many forms, such as:
- Concealing and carrying a weapon like a gun or knife
- Displaying a weapon in a threatening way
- Possessing and handling a lethal weapon while intoxicated (or under the influence of a substance) in a careless or negligent way
- Shooting a gun into or at any structure where people assemble
- Includes shooting a gun within 100 yards of a school, court, or church while they are occupied
- Shooting a gun across or next to a public highway
- Carrying a deadly weapon (firearm or otherwise) into the following situations:
- Into a church before or during a worship service
- Into a precinct on the day of an election
- Into any government building
- Shooting at a person or another structure while driving in or occupying a moving vehicle
- Taking either a loaded or unloaded gun into a school or another school building/facility
- Weapons charges are considered serious offenses and carry harsh penalties.
Felonies and Weapons Charges
Many felony charges, such as robbery or assault, will contain an additional charge of “Armed Criminal Action” (or ACA). This happens when a weapon was allegedly used in the commission of the underlying offense.
The penalties in Missouri for weapons violations include the following:
- Maximum authorized term of imprisonment for a class B felony for the first violation
- If the offender has prior offenses, they can be sentenced for the maximum authorized term of imprisonment for a class B felony without parole, probation, or conditional release as possibilities for ten years
- If the offender is considered a persistent offender, they may receive the maximum authorized term of imprisonment for a class B felony without parole, probation, or conditional release as possibilities for ten years
- If injury or death of another person is also a factor into the violation, the offender may face a class A felony which has harsher penalties than class B felonies
An Armed Criminal Action charge is not eligible for probation. Therefore, defense counsel must aggressively investigate the facts of these cases and evaluate all applicable defenses to avoid a conviction at all costs.
In today’s world, gun charges and weapon offenses are taken very seriously. Muhlenkamp & Bernsen has the experience to help you get a reasonable bond and get you back to your life as quickly as possible, putting your gun charges behind you. We have defended weapon and gun charges successfully. We will work to secure your release promptly and defend you in court. Do not take these charges lightly. Make sure you have experienced counsel by your side. Call us today for a free case evaluation.