Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender, also known as POWPO, prohibits the possession of firearms by someone who has been convicted as an adult of a felony offense or adjudicated delinquent for a felony offense as a juvenile. In Jefferson, Gilpin, and Broomfield county, this offense commonly occurs for people who were adjudicated as juveniles and did not realize a juvenile adjudication prevents them from owning a weapon.
Juvenile Felony Adjudications Operate as a Conviction for Gun Purposes
In most cases, people do not even know that they are breaking the law when they have been charged with Possesion of a Weapon by Previous Offender, because they think a juvenile record will not restrict their right to possess a firearm. That is simply not the case. The POWPO statute, C.R.S. 18-12-108(3), specifically states that “a person commits the crime of possession of a weapon by a previous offender if the person knowingly possesses, uses or carries upon his or her person a firearm […] subsequent to the person’s adjudication for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony….” This statute applies to adjudications for attempt or conspiracy as well.
Juvenile Records are not Automatically Expunged or Sealed
The law does not recognize as a defense that the person was not aware that it was illegal for them to possess a firearm. The most common situation occurs when clients simply believe their juvenile record is automatically sealed or expunged after they become an adult. Juvenile records are able to be expunged if: (1) immediately, if you are found not guilty at trial, or (2) one year after the completion of diversion or informal adjustment, or (3) four years after a juvenile is released from the court’s jurisdiction, i.e. four years after your sentence is completed. Sexual offenses are not eligible for expungement. Expungement does NOT occur automatically and the court must be formally petitioned to expunge your record.
So, if you have a juvenile record and you want to possess a firearm legally in Adams, Denver, or Jefferson County, contact our office to determine if you are eligible to own a firearm legally. Otherwise, if you are caught and charged with Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender, you risk a class 5 or 6 felony conviction on your adult record.
We are experienced attorneys who devote ourselves solely to the practice of criminal defense. When you are accused of possessing a weapon illegally, be smart, and consult with an attorney. Call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.