Have you been investigated for or arrested on weapons charges in Colorado? Firearm laws in Colorado are complex and most people don’t know whether their rights have been violated or not. That is why you need a skilled Denver defense and gun rights lawyer to help you understand and defend your gun rights in Colorado.
The potential consequences are very serious and being convicted can ruin the rest of your life. Gun Laws in Colorado are very strict and can often lead to hefty fines and even prison sentences. Weapons offenses require the knowledge and know-how of a skilled Denver defense attorney. If you are accused of having an illegal weapon or if you committed another crime and are being charged with having a weapon with you at the time of the offense, you need an experienced and aggressive Denver defense lawyer like Kevin Pauly – who will help defend you against your weapons charges.
Kevin Pauly is a Denver criminal defense attorney who has experience defending weapons charges in Colorado and knows what it takes to fight for your gun rights. If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a previous offender (POWPO), carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, prohibited use of a weapon, or any other weapons charges in Colorado, Kevin will stand by your side and help defend you every step of the way.
Even if you have a valid gun permit, you may face criminal gun charges for using your firearm in an illegal way. For example, you cannot recklessly discharge your firearm or unlawfully aim it at another person. If you commit either of those acts, you may be charged with prohibited use of a firearm, which is a class-2 misdemeanor. If you knowingly illegally purchase or obtain a firearm you could face unlawful purchase charges, which is a class-4 felony in Colorado.
“Weapon” is a broad term, and it has a variety of definitions under Colorado State law. A deadly weapon is defined under Colorado Revised Statute § 18-1-901(3)(e) as meaning a loaded or unloaded firearm or a “knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.”
A dangerous weapon, however, is defined under Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-102(1) as being a ballistic knife, machine gun, short rifle, short shotgun, or firearm silencer. Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-102(2) defines an illegal weapon as metallic knuckles, a gas gun, or a blackjack.
How a weapon is defined depends on the crime a person is being charged with, and Colorado has several different weapons crimes. All of these offenses carry severe penalties for people, including very damaging criminal records that can create problems down the road for individuals if they are convicted.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation essentially lists all statutes under Title 18, Article 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes under the firearm and weapon-related statutes section of its website. The crimes included in this section of state law include:
Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-102 — A person commits a class 1 misdemeanor if they knowingly possess an illegal weapon. It is a class 5 felony if a person knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon, but any subsequent offense is a class 4 felony.
Possession of a defaced firearm, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-103 — If a person knowingly possesses a firearm on which the manufacturer’s serial number or other identification mark or distinguishing number has been destroyed, altered, removed, or defaced, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Defacing a firearm, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-104 — If a person knowingly destroys, alters, removes, covers, or defaces the manufacturer’s serial number or any other identification mark or distinguishing number of a firearm, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon – unlawful possession of weapons, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-105 — If a person knowingly carries a knife or firearm concealed on their person without legal authority, carries, brings, or possesses a firearm or any explosive, incendiary, or another dangerous device on government property or a location where government business is being conducted, it is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Unlawfully carrying a weapon – unlawful possession of weapons – school, college, or university grounds, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-105.5 — If a person knowingly carries, brings, or possesses a deadly weapon as defined under Colorado Revised Statute § 18-1-901(3)(e) on to any enumerated school grounds, it is a class 6 felony.
Prohibited use of weapons, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-106 — If a person knowingly aims a firearm at another person; shoots a bow and arrow or discharges a firearm recklessly or with criminal negligence; deliberately sets a device, trap, or loaded gun designed to cause an explosion upon being approached or tripped and leaves it unattended; possesses a firearm while under the influence; knowingly throws, swings, or aims a nunchaku or throwing star at another person or knowingly possesses a nunchaku or throwing star in a public place except for in authorized circumstances, it is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Use of stun guns, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-106.5 — If a person knowingly uses a stun gun in the commission of a crime, it is a class 5 felony.
Illegal discharge of a firearm, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-107.5 — If a person recklessly or knowingly discharges a firearm into any dwelling, any other occupied structure or building, or into an occupied motor vehicle, it is a class 5 felony.
Possession of weapons by previous offenders, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-108 — If a person knowingly carries, uses, or possesses a firearm or any other weapon after being convicted of a felony or attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, it is a class 6 felony. Possession of weapons by previous offenders becomes a class 5 felony if the alleged violation involves a dangerous weapon or the alleged offender’s prior conviction was for arson, burglary, or any offense involving the use of a deadly weapon or the use of force less than ten years ago.
Possession of handguns by juveniles, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-108.5 — If a person under 18 years of age knowingly has a gun in their possession, it is a class 2 misdemeanor. Any subsequent offense is a class 5 felony.
Unlawfully providing or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-108.7 — If a person recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally provides a handgun to any person under 18 years of age or knows of a juvenile’s possession of a handgun and fails to prevent their violation, it is a class 4 felony. If a person recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally provides any firearm other than a handgun to any person under 18 years of age, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Possession, use, or removal of explosives or incendiary devices, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-109 — Crimes listed under this statute involving explosive or incendiary devices such as dynamite, missiles, bombs, or grenades as well as explosive or incendiary such as timers, triggers, timing devices, and end caps can range from class 2 felony offenses or class 4 felony offenses depending on the specific prohibited conduct involved.
Unlawful purchase of firearms, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-111 — If a person knowingly purchases or otherwise obtains a firearm for transfer to or on behalf of an individual ineligible to possess a firearm, it is a class 4 felony. Licensed dealers under federal law are required to post signs displaying these provisions, and failure to do so is a class 2 petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $250.
Private firearms transfers – background check required, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-112 — Background checks are required for all firearm transfers by licensed dealers and people who are not licensed dealers, and any failure to conduct a background check is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-107 establishes that person who violates Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-103, Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-105, or Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-106 within five years of a conviction for the same offense will be charged with a class 5 felony. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation also notes that Colorado Revised Statute § 18-12-302 makes it a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to possess, transfer, or sell a large-capacity magazine, but any subsequent offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Felonies and misdemeanors carry different levels of punishments, and the maximum sentences allowable for convictions depend on which class of felony or misdemeanor offense an alleged offender has been charged with. The presumptive sentencing range for felony offenses in Colorado by class level are as follows:
Class 2 Felony — Eight to 24 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1 million
Class 3 Felony — Four to 12 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000
Class 4 Felony — Two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000
Class 5 Felony — One to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000
Class 6 Felony — One to one-and-a-half years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000
The possible range for misdemeanors is as follows, based on class levels:
Class 1 Misdemeanor — Six to 18 months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000
Class 2 Misdemeanor — Three to 12 months in jail and a fine of $250 to $1,000
Felony convictions can also result in the loss of your firearm rights.
An arrest for a weapons crime is frightening, but it is not the same as a conviction. A prosecutor still needs to prove that you broke the law. You might also have a defense if the weapon was seized through an illegal search and seizure. The alleged weapon you possessed may not satisfy the statutory definition. Any one of many other possible factors in your case could justify your weapon possession, or could call into question the prosecution’s case against you. An experienced attorney can investigate the unique circumstances of your case to identify the most strategic defense for you.
If you have been charged or law enforcement has contacted you in connection with a weapons offense in Colorado, you need an experienced gun rights lawyer in Denver to protect you against a weapons conviction. For more than a decade, Kevin has exclusively defended those facing criminal charges in Colorado and was named Attorney of the Year in 2007 for the Denver Trial Office of the Colorado State Public Defender.
Whatever your weapons charge may be, Kevin Pauly is an experienced Denver defense lawyer who will listen to your side of the story, investigate conditions at the time of your arrest and mount a case for reduction or dismissal of charges. If you are charged with a weapon offense, then an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney like Kevin Pauly is absolutely essential.