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Weapons Charges

Will I go to jail for a weapons charge in Louisiana?

Being charged with a weapons offense in Louisiana can come with serious consequences. You could face steep fines, hard labor, and even jail time.

The first step to protecting your rights is to understand the intricacies of the relevant Louisiana law and to work with a team of dedicated New Orleans criminal defense lawyers who are experienced in weapons charge cases.

At Crescent City Law, we’re-well versed in Louisiana weapons law and are here to help you through it.

What is a weapons charge?

According to La RS 14:94, illegal use of weapons in Louisiana is defined as: 

“the intentional or criminally negligent discharging of any firearm, or the throwing, placing, or other use of any article, liquid, or substance, where it is foreseeable that it may result in death or great bodily harm to a human being.”

In the context of this law, “firearm” can include:

  • A shotgun with a barrel fewer than 18 inches long
  • Handguns
  • A weapon made from either a rifle or a shotgun that has been modified to be under 26 inches long overall
  • A rifle with a barrel fewer than 16 inches long
  • Any pistol, revolver, shotgun, or other firearm that has had its serial number or identification mark removed
  • Any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, assault rifle, or submachine gun that can fire fixed cartridge ammunition

There is a range of specific charges in Louisiana that fall under this category, including, but not limited to:

Louisiana allows people to carry a concealed weapon when they have a concealed handgun permit. However, there are certain locations and circumstances in which you cannot have a gun, even with a concealed carry permit.

Louisiana concealed weapon laws

According to Section 1379.3 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, any resident of Louisiana older than the age of 21 can apply for a concealed weapon permit.

However, they must not have a felony or domestic violence conviction, or have documented problems with drugs or alcohol. You may be able to apply for a concealed handgun permit if your criminal record has been expunged.

You may apply if you have been convicted of misdemeanors, but the state may deny your application depending on the nature of the conviction and the rest of your history.

The permit does apply to handguns, but does not apply to shotguns, rifles, knives, or other dangerous weapons. 

Once you have your concealed carry permit, there are some locations in which it is illegal to bring your weapon:

  • Places of worship (unless explicitly allowed by the organization)
  • Any bar or restaurant which sells alcoholic beverages (ABOs)
  • Parades such as Mardi Gras, or other demonstrations
  • An individual’s home or residential building, without their consent
  • Schools

In places where you are allowed to carry your gun, you can still be arrested.

For example, the presence of a gun can change a charge from simple assault to aggravated assault, which results in higher fines and a longer imprisonment.

In this case, even if you have a permit and are carrying your firearm in a location where firearms are allowed, you could still be arrested and lose your permit.

Will a weapons charge land you in jail in Louisiana?

Yes, in some cases you will go to jail for a weapons charge in Louisiana. The extent of your sentence, and whether that includes jail time, will depend on what type of weapons charge you’re facing, whether it was your first offense, and other details related to the incident.

In some cases, you may face a fine and minimal jail time. In other cases, such as a second or third offense, you could be imprisoned for five to ten years. In many cases, the prosecution will move the court to order you to surrend your weapon permanently.

What are the penalties for weapons charges in Louisiana?

There is a range of penalties that apply to weapons charges in Louisiana.

Penalties for illegally carrying a weapon in Louisiana

First convictions for illegally carrying a weapon in Louisiana can result in:

  • Up to 6 months of jail time
  • Up to $500 in fines

Second convictions can result in:

  • Up to 5 years of jail time, with or without hard labor

Third and subsequent convictions can result in:

  • Up to 10 years of jail time, without probation, suspension of the sentence, or parole

Other factors also come into play when receiving your sentence for a weapons charge in Louisiana, such as the amount of time since your last conviction.

Penalties for other weapons charges in Louisiana

If you fire a gun recklessly nearby a parade or other permitted gathering, you could face 5-15 years in prison. 

In other cases, sentencing for other crimes, such as criminal charges and penalties, will become more serious if a firearm or deadly weapon is involved.

For example, the presence of a gun can change a charge from simple assault to aggravated assault, which results in higher fines and a longer imprisonment.

Facing a weapons charge in the state of Louisiana?

If found guilty, you are at a high risk of going to jail for a weapons charge in Louisiana.

To give yourself the best chance of protecting your rights, it is important to work with a dedicated team of criminal defense lawyers. At Crescent City Law, we’ve assisted many clients through their defense cases and are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for your case. 

Contact us today to discuss your case.

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