Your Second Amendment rights are among the most cherished and important rights protected by both the US and Georgia Constitutions. But along with the right to bear arms comes potential liability and severe penalties for their misuse.
If you have been charged with a gun-related criminal offense, an Athens gun lawyer can fight on your behalf and defend your right to carry. As an experienced criminal attorney knows that the use of a weapon or possession of a weapon in the commission of other crimes can cause higher potential fines and longer jail time.
Carrying a Gun in Georgia
A person does not need a license to carry a handgun or long gun on his or her property or inside the person’s home. A long gun can be carried, loaded, only if it is open and fully exposed. However, carrying a loaded handgun requires a carry license issued by the county probate court. For the first offense of carrying without a license, a person is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or prison time of up to a year. It can be beneficial to seek the advise or an Athens gun lawyer before one proceeds with their trial.
What Locations Are Considered Gun-Free?
Despite the somewhat liberal licensing requirements, carrying a weapon in unauthorized locations can result in a misdemeanor. The following locations are gun-free:
- A government building (under certain circumstances)
- A courthouse
- Jail or prison
- A place of worship
- A state mental health facility
- At a nuclear power plant
- Within 150 feet of a polling location (when elections are being conducted)
Considerable Factors in Defending the Right to Carry a Gun
While there are some exceptions, generally someone with a license to carry has the right to do so in all locations. However, a private property owner, such as a landlord, has the right to exclude or eject a person carrying a firearm.
Despite the restrictions governing the right to carry, the use of a gun for self-defense and the defense of others is an absolute defense to any violation of the statutes governing the carrying and possession of firearms. An Athens gun lawyer can review the details of someone’s case and advise them on how to potentially reduce the charges against them.
Use of a Gun in the Commission of a Crime
The use of deadly weapons such as firearms can steepen the penalties otherwise assessed in various criminal charges. Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor, meaning an actor can face a fine of up to $1,000 or prison time of up to 12 months, or both. An assault becomes aggravated, however, if the individual uses a firearm in the commission of the offense. In such a case the penalty will be not less than one year or more than 20 years in jail.
Likewise, robbery is punishable by not less than one or more than 20 years, but armed robbery is punishable by death, imprisonment for life, or for between ten and 20 years.
Gun-related offenses in Georgia often entail lengthy jail terms. An Athens gun lawyer experienced in handling gun cases can craft the strongest possible defense basedonn the facts of your case and help keep you out of jail.