Weapons Offences: Know Why You Have Been Charged
At Darwin R. Witmer Criminal Law, many of my clients have weapons included among their charges. There is much confusion surrounding weapons charges and their relationship to other charges faced by my clients.
Often, weapons charges may be part of an offence — for example, a robbery or drug offence carried out with the use of a gun. They may be added on even though they are not related, as for example if you are charged with drinking and driving but the police find an improperly stored hunting rifle in your car.
Understanding Your Weapons Charge
Unless the weapon in question is a gun or a knife, it’s not unusual for people charged to be unsure about why they are being charged at all. As a lawyer defending clients against weapons charges I often end up answering these two questions:
- How could I be charged with a weapons offence when I didn’t use a weapon? A weapon can be anything that is used to harm or threaten another person or destroy property. In the right circumstances, even a glass of water can be treated as a weapon. In the heat of the moment, especially in a domestic dispute or a theft, anything that could be viewed as threatening by the victim could count as a weapon.
- Why was I charged with this? There are many reasons you may be charged. It is the job of the Crown and police to bring all relevant charges, and it is the job of the defence to make sure they prove every charge, including weapons charges. If an assault did occur, we may ask for the weapons charge be dropped as part of plea bargaining.
We will discuss your weapons charge and its implications. As with all criminal charges it is necessary for the Crown to prove the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. Our first position will always be to challenge the evidence and force the Crown to prove this heavy onus. Inevitably there are going to be some cases that we need to negotiate to the best possible outcome. In some cases this could mean negotiating to a lesser offence and possibly avoiding the weapons charge.
Each case is unique and I will review the specifics of your case with you to assist you in taking the best possible approach.