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What are the penalties for reckless gun crimes in Virginia?

Most Virginians are responsible gun owners. Many have firearms for protection or hunting. However, while gun crimes are frequently categorized as being committed by people who are involved in robberies and other illegal activities, even those who have firearms legally can face allegations of wrongdoing. The statement "protect your rights" has never been truer than it is for those who are not taking part in criminal acts but find themselves confronted by allegations of illegal behavior with firearms. In these cases, having legal assistance is key.

Reckless handling of firearms and reckless handling while hunting are charges that gun owners can face. Understanding the law for these crimes is important. If a firearm is handled recklessly and the lives, limb or property of others is put in danger, the person will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the weapon is handled wantonly, grossly and culpably showing reckless disregard for another's life and there is a serious bodily injury with permanent physical impairment, it will be a Class 6 felony. For people who are hunting and violate these laws, the judge can penalize the person not just with the punishment decided upon by a jury, but by revoking the individual's license to hunt or trap with a firearm for a period between one and five years.

With that revocation, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be informed of the penalties. If the person has a weapon when hunting or trapping during the suspension of their privileges, they will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The license can then be suspended from one year to life. A Class 1 misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine or both. With a Class 6 felony, the penalty can be from one to five years in jail.

Those who are simply using their firearms for hunting or other legal reasons could find themselves facing a variety of potential penalties. It is wise to understand the critical nature of legal advice. Perhaps plea bargains can be negotiated as part of the criminal defense. Or, it might have been a misunderstanding with an overzealous law enforcement officer. Regardless of the circumstances, these gun crimes require experienced legal help and calling for representation is the first step.

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