Gun offenses are often charged as felonies and are punished harshly in Arizona. If you have been arrested for a weapons crime, you must take the charges seriously and aggressively defend against them. Even if you are guilty, this could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
What Is Considered a Firearm?
Firearms are specifically defined under ARS §13-3101(A)(4). This law defines a firearm as one of the following, whether they are loaded or unloaded:
- Other weapons that will expel, can readily expel, or can readily be converted to expel a projectile through the use of an explosive
A firearm that is in a permanent inoperative condition is not considered a firearm under this statute. A deadly weapon is one that is designed for lethal use and includes a firearm.
5 Common Gun Crimes in Arizona
There are many gun offenses in our state. Some of the most common offenses are included in Chapter 31 of the Arizona Revised Statute and include the following crimes:
Misconduct Involving a Weapon
Misconduct involving a weapon is a very common offense that can involve the use of a firearm or other weapon. Depending on the specific violation of the law, this crime can be charged as a Class 2, 4, or 6 felony under ARS §13-3102. There are many ways a person can violate this criminal law, including intentionally doing any of the following:
- Carry a deadly weapon, except for a pocket knife, that is concealed or in their immediate control
- Possess a deadly weapon or a prohibited weapon, such as an automatic rifle, rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches, or a shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches
- Manufacture, possess, transport, transfer, or sell a prohibited weapon
- Possess a deadly weapon that was defaced or by defacing it
- Use a deadly weapon while committing a felony
- Possess a deadly weapon on school grounds
Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
Under ARS §13-3107, it is a Class 6 felony to unlawfully discharge a firearm. The person must have discharged a firearm within the limits of a municipality and have done so with criminal negligence.
Disorderly Conduct With a Weapon
It is also a Class 6 felony to engage in disorderly conduct with a weapon under
ARS §13-2904. One of the ways this crime can be committed is to knowingly and recklessly handle, display, or discharge a gun with the intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family, or individual.
ARS §13-1209 makes it a crime to engage in a drive-by shooting. An individual commits this offense by intentionally discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle at a person, an occupied vehicle, or an occupied structure. This offense would be charged as a Class 2 felony.
An assault can be charged as aggravated assault if it is committed using a deadly weapon. If a gun were used when committing the crime, the accused would be charged with a Class 3 felony.
Penalties for Arizona Gun Offenses
You face harsh punishments if you are convicted of a gun offense in Arizona—even if this is your first criminal conviction. Many of these crimes carry mandatory prison sentences. You could be sentenced as follows:
- Class 2 felony. If you are convicted of a Class 2 felony, you would be sentenced to a mandatory prison sentence of 7 to 21 years and revocation of your driver’s license for 1 to 5 years.
- Class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies are punished by a mandatory prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.
- Class 4 felony. You could be incarcerated in prison for 4 to 8 years.
- Class 6 felony. The sentence for a Class 6 felony includes a mandatory prison sentence of 1 to 3 years.
In addition to incarceration, you could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $150,000 if you are convicted of one of these felony offenses. You will also face the long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record that can affect your ability to obtain a job, housing, education, and more.
Were you charged with a gun offense in Northern Arizona or Flagstaff? Start an online chat or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense lawyers to find out how we can assist you.