In a recent firearms case coming out of a Virginia court, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict was denied. Originally, the defendant was convicted of possessing a firearm under the age of twenty-nine after having been convicted of a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult. Because he had been previously convicted as a juvenile, the defendant was prohibited from having a gun, thus the court found that he had possessed the firearm illegally. On appeal, the defendant argued there was not enough evidence to prove that he had been previously convicted. The court disagreed, ultimately affirming the guilty verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was arrested in 2020 for a separate crime. When the police officer searched the defendant after arresting him, the officer found a firearm tucked into the waistband of the defendant’s pants. The officer checked the gun’s serial number, ran it through his system, and discovered that the firearm had been reported stolen earlier that day.
At the defendant’s trial, the Commonwealth of Virginia provided evidence that as a juvenile, the defendant had been found guilty of a crime that would have been considered a felony if it was committed by an adult. Under Virginia law, it is illegal for a person fitting into this category to possess any firearm. The defendant was then convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted non-violent felon.
The defendant quickly appealed his guilty verdict. On appeal, he argued that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that he had previously been convicted of a crime that, if he had been an adult, would have been considered a felony. The Commonwealth had submitted three documents attempting to prove that the defendant had been previously convicted: a petition from the juvenile court, an order from the juvenile court, and a separate order from the court requiring the defendant to be fingerprinted at the jail. According to the defendant, this evidence suggested that he had been previously convicted but did not definitively prove his previous conviction.
The court looked at the evidence submitted and ultimately decided that the Commonwealth had sufficiently proven that the defendant had been previously convicted. According to the court, there was no evidence to show that the defendant’s previous charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, which would have kept the crime from being considered a felony if he were an adult. What’s more, the documents submitted by the Commonwealth showed that the defendant had pled guilty to this previous crime, allowing the court to conclude that the defendant had been previously convicted.
Given the sufficiency of the evidence, the court denied the defendant’s appeal.
Have You Been Charged with a Firearm Offense in Virginia?
If you are facing criminal charges based on a firearm offense in Virginia, give us a call at Robinson Law, PLLC. We will fight zealously for your rights and do everything in our power to build the best possible defense for your case. For a free consultation, give us a call at 703-542-3616.