People are routinely charged with Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender, C.R.S. 18-12-108, in Denver and Douglas County. What I am about to say may not make sense; you are not necessarily barred from possession of a weapon if you have a conviction for a Domestic Violence misdemeanor or a felony. Now before you say “a lawyer told me I can have a gun,” let me explain a bit of the unique facts. To understand the facts, you first need to know the law. Read More About Possession of a Weapon Charges.
The Law of Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender
The United States Code, 18 U.S.C. §§ 921 and 922, is what Colorado bases its law on. Basically, anyone who has a conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor where there is an underlying factual basis of domestic violence, is ineligible to possess a firearm. A felony is a crime with a possible punishment of more than one year in prison. In Broomfield and Boulder County your gun rights are not impacted if you plead guilty to a misdemeanor without a Domestic Violence finding.
A Firearm Affirmative Defense to Fight the Government’s Allegations
Now that we understand the law, let’s look at a set of unique facts impacting how these cases are normally handled. Adams and Arapahoe County normally use Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender law to decide who can’t use firearms. However, not taken into account up-front by police, is that case law allows an affirmative defense to be used when facing these charges under certain circumstances. An Affirmative Defense essentially says, “yes, I committed the crime, but I can use an exception to the law.” In this instance, many people can raise this affirmative defense if they had the gun to ensure the safety of their home, person, or property. The affirmative defense is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Rather, it simply adds an element to complicate the prosecution’s case which they must successfully rebut to convict you. This rule does not normally apply to the purchase or carrying of firearms.
Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card
This Affirmative Defense to the law is not known by many police officers. In fact, there is still a high probability you will be charged with this felony crime and have to fight your way through the court and legal system. But, under the right circumstances, you will likely win. You should always consult an attorney who understands gun rights and will be able to attack the Police in Lakewood, Aurora, and Highlands Ranch. This blog is by no means a complete summary of gun possession law in Weld and Larimer County.
In all gun cases, the bottom line is that if you or a loved one has been charged with or convicted of a crime and your gun rights are in hanging in the balance, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and contact us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.