When a person becomes a convicted felon in Nevada, some consequences involve losing certain rights, such as being able to own a firearm or having the right to vote. While there are programs that help convicted felons restore certain rights, these legal processes can be lengthy and complex.
As such, if you are a convicted felon and were found in possession of a firearm in Las Vegas, which led to your arrest, you can work with a Las Vegas gun charge defense lawyer from De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers to fight off or reduce your charges. Our law firm handles various criminal defense cases involving firearm-related charges, from firearm possession to assault with a firearm.
Can a Felon Own Firearms in Las Vegas?
Per NRS 202.360, persons who have been convicted of felonies are prohibited from bearing firearms unless:
- The convicted felon received a pardon that allows them to carry concealed weapons.
- The individual’s felony conviction was set aside.
- The individual’s felony conviction was expunged.
- The convicted felon was able to restore their rights in Nevada or whichever state where the felony occurred.
People with felony convictions involving domestic violence or abuse are prohibited from owning a gun in Nevada, regardless of the above exceptions. Juveniles who get charged with felonies in adult court may also be barred from owning guns, with some exceptions.
What Is Considered “Possession” of a Firearm in Las Vegas?
If you are facing charges for being in possession of a firearm, a key point in your defense will be establishing whether you were actually in “possession” of a firearm by its legal definition.
By law, “possession” can be categorized as actual possession or constructive possession. One of our gun charge lawyers in Las Vegas can investigate your case to determine whether allegations about you possessing a firearm have any validity.
Actual possession applies whenever the alleged offender possesses a weapon on their person or near their person. The following scenarios can be defined as actual possession of a firearm:
- The offender is holding the firearm in their hand.
- The offender has the firearm strapped to their body or sitting in a holster.
- The offender is carrying the firearm in a container, such as a briefcase or suitcase.
- The offender is within ready reach of the firearm and maintains control over it (e.g., having a gun secured beneath the bed).
Individuals found guilty of being in actual possession of a firearm may be convicted of a category B felony, which can result in jail time, fines, and other legal consequences.
Constructive possession applies whenever the offender is aware of the firearm and maintains control over it but may not necessarily have the firearm on their person. In some cases, this can also refer to concealed weapons. The following scenarios can be defined as constructive possession of a firearm:
- The offender has the firearm locked away in a safe deposit box in their home, hotel room, or car.
- The offender has the firearm concealed in the glove compartment or another area of their car that is within reach.
- The offender has the firearm concealed in their work environment, such as in their desk or office.
Constructive possession is often mentioned in cases involving the possession of illicit substances. This definition works to establish that the alleged offender remains in control of their weapons because they know about their location(s) even if they are not physically carrying them. Our legal team can work to negate these claims by establishing doubt in the prosecutor’s argument.
What Are the Penalties if a Felon Is Caught in Possession of a Firearm?
Penalties for being in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon include:
- Jail time of between one and six years in the Nevada State Prison
- Fines up to $5000
These penalties are for category B felonies, as defined in NRS 193.130. Non-convicted felons who are found in possession of an illegal firearm may receive lesser fines. However, felons who commit repeat offenses involving possession of a firearm may face enhanced penalties, especially if they are facing charges for other related crimes, such as possession of illicit substances, engaging in or soliciting prostitution, and gambling-related offenses.
What Defense Arguments Can Be Made Against Possession of Firearm Charges?
Some common defense arguments that refute allegations about being in possession of an illegal firearm include:
- Your felony conviction was pardoned, thereby allowing you to restore your right to own a concealed weapon in Nevada.
- Law enforcement, the state, or another party conducted an illegal search and seizure, such as neglecting to get a warrant based on probable cause that you would own an illegal firearm.
- There is insufficient evidence that you own or were in possession of the firearm. For example, just because a firearm was at your workplace does not mean you were aware of it being there.
- You were carrying a firearm in case you would need to use it in self-defense. Many felons may still be wary of former criminal relationships, especially if they began cooperating with law enforcement. Felons may also agree to provide substantial assistance with cases that involve convicting an at-large individual, such as a drug trafficker or human trafficker. This argument may require eyewitness testimony.
These defense methods may help you reduce any enhanced penalties you face for alleged crimes.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Felons Facing Firearm-Related Charges?
At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, our attorneys help our clients fight off their charges, which may result in having them reduced or eliminated altogether. To do so, our gun charge attorneys in Nevada perform the following services:
- Private investigation: Our legal team immediately begins analyzing the nature of your arrest, criminal processing, interrogation, search and seizures, and any other aspect of your case to determine whether the prosecution respected your rights and had probable cause to charge you with possession of a firearm. If we discover that you were wrongfully arrested, charged, or even convicted, we will help you counter these allegations.
- Legal appearances: We can send out one of our criminal defense attorneys to serve as your representative as soon as you call. If we enter your case early, we may be able to petition for lower bail to release you from jail and schedule hearing dates that give us enough time to gather evidence on your behalf and prepare your defense. If you are not native to Las Vegas or Nevada, our attorneys can attend hearings in your place and give case updates.
- Evidence retrieval: Our legal team can work to gather key evidence that supports your defense. For example, we may look into whether the alleged weapons were registered in another person’s name and therefore do not belong to you. We can also observe video footage that captured whether someone else planted the weapon to frame you. We may also contact witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
- Communications: With criminal cases, any statements you make may be used against you. With a criminal defense lawyer from our firm representing you, they can handle statements about your case so that it remains protected. They can also serve as a barrier between you and law enforcement during official interrogations and file motions to cease any attempts to communicate with you if it could jeopardize your case.
Resources for Cases Involving Possession of Firearms in Las Vegas
The following resources may provide you with useful information for your gun charges case:
- Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners: If you would like to request a pardon on your felony conviction, you can fill out a request for a pardon and send it to the Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners. This website also provides information links on how to seal your record of criminal proceedings as well as how to begin the process to restore your rights.
- State of Nevada Department of Corrections: If you would like to learn more information on how to restore your civil rights, you can refer to the State of Nevada Department of Corrections’ website. Here, you will learn which civil rights you lose as a convicted felon, such as the right to vote or own firearms.
- The United States Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney: If your felony involves federal charges, you can request a pardon from the United States Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. Here, you can review the status of pending pardon cases.
Depending on the nature of your case, our legal team may also refer other resources you can read up on at home as we manage your case.
Call De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers for a Free Case Review
If you are a convicted felon and were found in possession of a firearm in Nevada, a gun charge defense lawyer in Las Vegas from our law firm can represent your case and advocate for you. Our legal team can investigate whether you obtained a pardon to own a gun and were thus not in violation of the law or if other factors exist that establish your innocence.
Call De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers at 702-805-2694 today to receive a free consultation with one of our team members. A criminal defense lawyer from our Las Vegas location can work with you immediately after your arrest.