Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender statute, C.R.S. 18-12-108, also known as POWPO, is very broad and should provide a strong reason why a person charged with a felony in Denver and Arapahoe County should consider all implications before taking a plea to a felony conviction. Gun or firearm related convictions have more strict implications than some other crimes.
The Basics of This Charge and Possession of a Gun Statute
First of all let me explain who this statute is addressing. Anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony in the State of Colorado, or any other state, or any federal court, may never be in possession of a weapon as defined by this statute.
Now let’s talk about how the statute defines weapon. C.R.S. 18-12-108 (1), say a person commits the crime of Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender if that person knowingly possesses, uses, or carries upon his or her person a firearm as described in section 18-901(3)(h). . .. That section includes handgun, automatic, revolver, pistol, rifle, shotgun, or other instrument or device capable of discharging bullets, cartridges, or other explosive charges. That part is easy enough to understand, anything which makes a loud noise and shoots something from it’s barrel is considered a weapon.
The statute does not stop there. It goes on to say …or any other weapon that is subject to the provisions of this article. . .. So now the list of weapons gets much larger and we must look at any weapon subject to the provisions of Article 12 under Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Here are a few things under the provision of Article 12: ballistic knife, blackjack, billy club, bomb, gas gun, gravity knife, knife (blade over 3 and one-half inches), stun gun, switchblade, and bow and arrow, are all subject to the provision of Article 12 and therefore fall within the prohibited weapons a felon may not possess.
Can a Knife Fulfill this Crime?
It is worth noting that the term knife, as defined by C.R.S. 18-12-101(1)(f), opens up the possibility of any object which is capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds without regard to the length of blade, and is within the definition of weapons that a previous felon may not possess. See, People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 93.3 (Colo. 1992), where the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a screwdriver qualified as a weapon and upheld the conviction of Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offenders charge because the defendant was using the screwdriver as a weapon.
If you have been convicted of a felony in the past and are living in Douglas or Adams County, you can be arrested and prosecuted if you have a weapon in your possession. There are ways that these charges can be fought and won, but you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you are being investigated for this or any crime, we recommend you be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.