In Colorado, a second weapons offense within a 5-year period may result in felony criminal charges. Possession of a defaced firearm, unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, and the prohibited use of a weapon are generally misdemeanor crime. However, under CRS 18-12-107, a second offense within 5 years is a class 5 felony. Penalties include up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is a second weapons offense?
- 2. What prior weapons offenses qualify?
- 3. What are the penalties for a second firearm offense?
- 4. What are some defenses to a firearms or weapons crimes?
- 5. Related Offenses
Any person who has a second or subsequent weapons offense under the following statutes has committed a second weapons offense:
- Possession of a Defaced Firearm C.R.S. 18-12-103
- Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon C.R.S. 18-12-105
- Prohibited Use of Weapons C.R.S. 18-12-106
A first offense of these weapons offenses is generally treated as a misdemeanor. However, a second of these weapons offenses within 5 years of a previous conviction is a class 5 felony.1
Possession of a defaced firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, or the prohibited use of a weapon are prior offenses that qualify for a second weapons offense. In general, prior criminal offenses may qualify as aggravating factors that increase sentencing for other crimes. However, only these three specific offenses qualify as a second weapons offense under CRS 18-12-107.
Possession of a Defaced Firearm C.R.S. 18-12-103
The knowing and unlawful possession of a firearm with the serial number removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon C.R.S. 18-12-105
The knowing and unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon is a class 2 misdemeanor. This includes carrying a concealed firearm or knife on or about your person. Unlawfully carrying a firearm, explosive, or dangerous device into any meeting of the general assembly of Colorado is also considered a concealed weapons violation.
Prohibited Use of Weapons C.R.S. 18-12-106
The prohibited use of a weapon is a class 2 misdemeanor. This includes:
- Aiming a firearm at another person;
- Recklessly shooting a gun or bow and arrow;
- Setting a dangerous and unattended trap, including a device that fires a gun or causes an explosion when approached or triggered;
- Possession of a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
- Use of a throwing star or nunchaku.
A first-time offense of these weapons charges is a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor. The penalties for a second or subsequent offense depend on the amount of time between the prior conviction and the second offense. If the second or subsequent offense was committed within 5 years of the prior conviction, the subsequent offense is a class 5 felony.
A second weapons offense within 5 years is punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000. There may also be a mandatory parole period after release.
Felony offenses may also result in long-term penalties. This includes possible voting restrictions and disqualification from serving on a jury or holding public office. It may also be much more difficult for a felon to find a job in the future.
There are a number of possible defenses to weapons charges, depending of the facts of the case. These include:
- The firearm serial number was removed through normal use and wear;
- You did not know the firearm's serial number was altered;
- You did not have actual or constructive possession of the weapon;
- You had a permit to carry the concealed weapon;
- The weapon was uncovered during an unlawful search or seizure by law enforcement;
- The firearm or knife was concealed while you were in your own dwelling or place of business; or
- The nunchucks or nunchaku were used for the purpose of an authorized public exhibition.
The penalties for a second weapons offense are related to the prior weapons offenses. A prior weapons offense within 5 years may result in felony charges for the second or subsequent offense.
Most firearms have a serial number for the purpose of identification, verification, or tracking sales. To knowing be in possession of a firearm with an altered, defaced, or destroyed serial number is a class 1 misdemeanor. Penalties include 6 to 18 months in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000.2
Unlawfully carrying a concealed gun or hidden knife is a class 2 misdemeanor. This may not apply to police officers, individuals with a valid concealed weapon's permit, or individuals lawfully concealing a weapon on their own property. Penalties for unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon include 3 to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.3
Aiming a gun at another person, recklessly firing a gun, possession of a gun while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the use of booby traps, throwing stars, or nunchucks are all considered prohibited weapons uses. The prohibited use of these weapons is a class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties for unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon include 3 to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.4
Call us for help...
If you were arrested for a weapons charge or have a prior weapons conviction, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with gun crimes and other weapons offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
- C.R.S. 18-12-107
- C.R.S. 18-12-103
- C.R.S. 18-12-105
- C.R.S. 18-12-106