While the crime of Prohibited Use of Weapons summarizes offenses involving gun or bow and arrow offenses generally, we most often see it charged alongside DUI, Reckless Endangerment and Felony Menacing in Arapahoe, Jefferson and Douglas County. In these cases, C.R.S. 18-12-106(1)(d) is the subsection used, and it relates to circumstances involving consumption of alcohol and possession of a firearm. It is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Common Example of Prohibited Use of Weapons
Here is the common scenario with this charge: Adams County Sheriff deputies come to a house on a menacing call in Brighton. They learn that a man is drunk and that he threatened one of his roommates with a handgun if he did not leave the stereo turned up loudly. While the man did not point the gun at his roommate, he had it in his hand and waived it around. The result?
- Drunk + gun = Prohibited Use of Weapons – Misdemeanor Charge
- Threats + weapon = Menacing – Felony Charge
People who normally would never pull out a gun or threaten anyone, do so while under the influence of alcohol. With their judgment impaired, they make poor decisions. This is not who they are. It is our job to educate the district attorney in Summit and Eagle County on who the defendant really is. Small details can make a huge difference as we personalize a client and explore plea alternatives in cases where evidence of guilt is strong. After over 25 years in the business, we know what motivates DAs and how they think.
DUI Charges and a Firearm: When is the “Possession” Element Met?
Another way we see this charge is when our client is driving with too much blood alcohol, and they are pulled over by police or involved in an accident in Denver County. Police commonly search the car incident to an arrest and find a firearm. The driver did not touch the gun, but it was in his near possession. A more difficult scenario for the DA would be if the gun were in the trunk. Or how about a drunk person in Aurora or Lakewood who has a gun at their house in another room? Facts such as these make a Prohibited Use of Weapons charge a triable case. When we can make a reasonable argument that the law does not require a person to remove all firearms from their home or trunk when drinking – and that possession really means “touch,” we have a case with a good chance of success. Intricate details such as affirmative defense, definitions of law terms, jury instructions and voir dire, all can influence the outcome of a trial if a theory of defense is woven together by an experienced defense attorney. We battle District Attorneys regularly, and have a winning trial record. Read more on “Possible Harm” as a crime in Prohibited Use cases.
Call us once you are contacted by police, and never answer their questions. Officers are not your friends and are not looking for the truth. They ask questions to see if they can gain evidence against you, not for you. Our criminal defense attorneys can be reached 24 hours a day at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.