As a previous post highlighted, convictions for gun crimes can carry serious penalties. Moreover, if a gun is used in the commission of a suspected crime, the accused could receive added years to their sentence if they are convicted of the underlying offense. Because crimes involving deadly weapons such as firearms could result in severe consequences, defendants in New York and elsewhere should understand the options available to them to try to reduce or avoid these penalties.
This may be especially pertinent now, as according to the preliminary Uniform Crime Reports provided by the FBI, showed an overall increase of 1.7 percent in the number of violent crimes in the first half of 2015, the most recent period for which statistics were available. This is in comparison to the recorded figures for the same period of time in 2014. This category of violent crimes includes crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
In contrast, the number of property crimes during the same period decreased 4.2 percent compared to the same time in 2014. These property crimes included crimes such as burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.
The crimes discussed in this report are those that may or may not include a dangerous weapon. However, if a defendant is accused of using a dangerous weapon during the commission of one or more of these offenses, he or she could face harsher penalties if convicted of the underlying crime.
Violent crime charges involving the use of a gun could carry serious penalties such as prison time and fines. However, if the accused was using a gun or a deadly weapon as a form of defense, then he or she may be able to use that fact as a defense, meaning that he or she could avoid devastating penalties. Additionally, criminal defendants should assess whether evidence produced by the prosecution was properly collected. If it wasn’t, then it may be deemed inadmissible if challenged. This, too, could lead to reduced or avoided penalties.
The investigation process following a violent crime charge is crucial and could be very helpful in developing a strong criminal defense. Those unsure of their rights or options after being charged with a crime should take steps to better under understand what defense options are available to them.
Source: FBI, “Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January-June, 2015,” accessed May 2, 2016