Violent Crimes: Possessing an Offensive Weapon

by | Apr 21, 2016 | Violent Crimes

One particular type of Violent crimes that an individual can be charged with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the charge of Possessing an Offensive Weapon. Under this statute an Offensive weapon is defined as a firearm as well as a litany of other types of weapons which many people possess. Possessing a firearm charge  This list of weapons includes obvious weapons such as bombs (pipe bombs etc), sawed-off shotguns with a barrel less than 18 inches, metal knuckles, daggers, knifes, razors or cutting instruments, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, and even tasers.

In order to be convicted for this crime in the state of Pennsylvania, the government must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt: First the government must prove that the accused is not authorized by the law to make repair, sell, use, or possess any offensive weapon. Possessing an Instrument of Crime Essentially, if an accused possesses one of the weapons listed above, when he is not authorized to possess it, then he is guilty of the crime of Possessing an Offensive Weapon. In another words, a person should never possess knifes that have the blades exposed in automatic ways such as switchblades etc. Possessing weapons such as this is a crime in Pennsylvania, even though you can buy some of these weapons online.

There are not many defenses to this crime since it is a possessor offense, (meaning you are guilty if you possess one of these offensive weapons). The only defenses listed under the statute are that it is a defense if the weapon is possessed solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.), or that the weapon was possessed briefly because he had just found it or taken it from someone who was using the weapon aggressively or for other unlawful purposes.

This crime is a serious offense. A conviction under this statute is a misdemeanor of the first degree and punishable up to 5 years in state prison. Make sure to contact an experienced Chester County Violent Crimes Attorney if you are being investigated for or have committed such a crime.

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