In April, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed legislation that allows convicted felons who meet certain criteria to regain civil rights, such as the right to vote, run for office, serve on a jury and become a notary public. However, this law does not reinstate other rights, such as the right possess a firearm. Due to this restriction, someone who has been convicted of a felony may find him or herself charged with weapons crimes if he or she happens to have a firearm on his or her person, even if it was not involved in any kind of criminal activity.
A recent article describes such a case in Ashburn. A man was cleaning his weapon in his home at approximately 2:30 a.m. on May 13, 2016. A mishap occurred, and the man unintentionally shot himself. He received non-life threatening injuries, and he was treated at a local hospital.
Police investigated the incident, and, on May 15th, they eventually arrested the man on several charges. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, reckless handing of a firearm and felony child endangerment. No other residents were reported injured in the home, and the suspect remains in custody on a $10,000 bond.
Those in Virginia who have been accused of weapons crimes may find it beneficial to contact an attorney who focuses on criminal law. This type of attorney will have an understanding of how to approach a criminal case and know which options may be available to someone who has a previous felony in his or her past. The attorney will also be able to assist in assuring an individual's rights are protected when charged with a non-violent weapons charge.
Source: Ashburn, Va. Patch, "Ashburn Man Arrested After Unintentionally Shooting Himself: LCSO", Sharon Reed, May 16, 2016