Ikerd Law Firm Gun Charges Defense Lawyer in Lafayette

Gun Charges Defense Lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana

Firearms offenses are taken very seriously in the Louisiana and federal court systems and can result in severe penalties if convicted in Lafayette.

Weapon crimes carry serious consequences and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. If you’re facing weapon charges, it’s essential to understand the specific laws and penalties in your state and to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney from the Ikerd Law Firm

Our team can help you build a strong defense and will work to aggressively and tenaciously pursue the best avenues to secure a positive outcome.

Understanding the Weapon Charges and Defenses in Lafayette, LA

When facing weapon-related charges, it’s essential to understand the specific laws and penalties in Louisiana.

Types of Weapon Crimes

Man pulling out a gun ready to shootThere are many different types of weapon crimes, but some of the most common include:

  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Illegal possession of a stolen firearm
  • Illegal discharge of a firearm
  • Possession of an illegal weapon, such as a sawed-off shotgun or a silencer
  • Possession of a concealed weapon without a permit
  • Use of a weapon during the commission of a crime, such as armed robbery
  • Carrying a weapon in a prohibited area, such as a school or government building
  • Possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • And more…

Common Weapons and Gun Crimes Explained

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Without a doubt, the most common gun charge that Chad Ikerd has seen and defended in his career is La. R.S. 14:95.1–Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Chad Ikerd has successfully defended dozens of cases against this charge in Lafayette and the surrounding parishes in South Louisiana.

Louisiana prohibits people who have been convicted of CERTAIN felonies to be prevented from owning or possessing a firearm for up to 10 years AFTER that person completed jail, probation, and parole. Not all prior felonies apply to this rule, but generally, they include violent crimes, property crimes involving the home (burglary or unauthorized entry), other weapons felonies, and any felony drug offense–even a felony possession of marijuana.

You should consult with a lawyer about whether your criminal history prevents you from possessing a gun or other firearm or whether you have sufficiently fulfilled the “10 year cleansing period.” A cleansing period is when someone has gone 10 years, post-completion of the sentence, without getting in any more trouble or being under State supervision (incarceration, probation, or parole). There are defenses to this charge, which Chad Ikerd has successfully raised in the past.

A VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember is that although Louisiana has a 10 year cleansing period that may allow someone to regain their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms (or at least prevent prosecution of a former felon for possessing a gun), Federal law does NOT have a sunset on this prohibition.

Under federal law, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1):

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—

(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Unfortunately, this means that even though Louisiana or another state’s law may prevent future prosecution for someone convicted of certain felonies after a 10 year cleansing period, that same person may still be subject to Federal Criminal Laws and prosecution, even after repaying their debt to society.

It is also important to note that while Louisiana has an exclusive list of crimes and categories of felonies that qualify for prosecution, federal law does not. It makes any prior felony offense (where the possible sentence was over 1 year in prison, not the actual sentence imposed) prosecutable under federal law when that person later has a gun in their possession. The only defense to this federal charge may be if a governor’s pardon was received for the underlying felony offense.

If you find yourself charged under Louisiana or Federal law with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, contact the Ikerd Law Firm immediately!

Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Another common gun offense is the unlawful use of a weapon. This can include brandishing a weapon, firing a weapon in a public place, and using a weapon during the commission of a crime. Generally speaking, whenever a gun or dangerous weapon is involved, the law is likely to add additional punishments to those acts, which are often violent.

Many times, the prosecution will file a “firearm enhancement” that can increase your sentence. In Louisiana, the prosecution must file a pretrial motion notifying everyone that if the State secures a conviction for a crime where a firearm was used, it will seek harsher penalties at sentencing than it would otherwise get under the law. La. Code of Criminal Procedure art. 893.1.

Under Federal law, the Court will look to different aggravating factors like the use of weapons to determine an appropriate sentence.

Illegal Sale or Transfer of a Firearm

It is also illegal to sell or transfer a firearm to a person who is prohibited from owning or possessing one.
Generally, in order for a person to be convicted of these offenses, the prosecution must prove that the defendant sold or transferred the firearm or ammunition to a prohibited individual and that the defendant knew or had reason to know that the recipient was prohibited from owning or possessing the prohibited item.

Potential Penalties for Weapons and Gun Convictions in Louisiana

Male Hand with GunPenalties for weapons and gun crimes in Louisiana can vary depending on the specific offense and the circumstances of the case.

However, some general information on penalties for weapon and gun crimes in Louisiana are:

  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon: This is a felony offense and can result in a minimum of 5 years in prison and up to 20 years, without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension. Additionally, there is a mandatory fine, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Illegal carrying of a weapon: For a first conviction, this is a misdemeanor offense and can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail. This is an enhanceable crime and can be a felony if convicted multiple times.
  • Use of a weapon during the commission of a crime: If a weapon is used during the commission of a crime, especially a crime of violence, the penalties for that crime will likely be increased. For example, if a weapon is used during a robbery, the individual may face additional charges and harsher penalties.

It is worth noting that Louisiana state law allows for the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which means that an individual has no duty to retreat from a threat before using deadly force in self-defense.

It’s also worth noting that the law and penalties for weapon offenses can be subject to change, so it is always recommended to consult with a qualified attorney from the Ikerd Law Firm for up-to-date information.

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Defenses to Weapon Charges

When facing weapon charges, there are several defenses that may be used to fight them. Some of the most common avenues to explore include:

  • Lack of Constructive Possession: If the individual did not know that they were near a weapon (under a car seat, in a drawer, etc.), they may be able to argue that they should not be held responsible for the charge
  • Lack of intent: If the individual did not intend to use the weapon in a harmful or illegal manner, they may be able to argue that they should not be held responsible for the charge. This may be a possible defense when the charge requires more than possession of the gun, and instead requires intent to use it in furtherance of another crime
  • Self-defense: If the individual used a weapon in self-defense or to protect others, they may be able to argue that the use of the weapon was justified and that they should not be held responsible for the charge
  • Illegal search and seizure: If the weapon was found as a result of an illegal search or seizure, the evidence may be inadmissible in court
  • Constitutional rights: If the individual’s rights under the Second Amendment or other Constitutional rights were violated, they may be able to argue that the charges against them should be dropped
  • Necessity: An individual might argue that the possession of the weapon was necessary for the safety or protection of oneself or others

Standing Up for Your Rights: Proven Success in Weapons and Gun Crime Cases

Fierce Advocacy for Those Facing Weapons and Gun Crime Charges

Charged with a firearms or weapons offense? Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Ikerd Law Firm.

Our team can help you understand the charges against you, the potential penalties, and the best defenses available for your particular case.

Reach out today for a free initial consultation.

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