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Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony

Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains: Use of a Firearm in Virginia

Virginia Code Section 18.2-53.1 states:

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to use or attempt to use any pistol, shotgun, rifle, or other firearm or display such weapon in a threatening manner while committing or attempting to commit
    • murder
    • rape
    • forcible sodomy
    • inanimate or animate object sexual penetration as defined in § 18.2-67.2
    • robbery
    • carjacking
    • burglary
    • malicious wounding as defined in § 18.2-51
    • malicious bodily injury to a law-enforcement officer as defined in § 18.2-51.1
    • aggravated malicious wounding as defined in § 18.2-51.2
    • malicious wounding by mob as defined in § 18.2-41
    • abduction.
  • Violation of this section shall constitute a separate and distinct felony and any person found guilty thereof shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years for a first conviction, and to a mandatory minimum term of five years for a second or subsequent conviction under the provisions of this section. Such punishment shall be separate and apart from, and shall be made to run consecutively with, any punishment received for the commission of the primary felony.

The "firearm" does not have to be a real weapon. What's being prohibited isn't just the actual use of a firearm but also the apparent use of a firearm that induces fear in a victim. Therefore, using any object that a victim reasonably believes to be a firearm violates this section. Any penalty imposed under this section is in addition to the penalty imposed on the underlying felony. 

If you have been charged with a felony, or a firearms related felony offense, contact George Freeman. He is a seasoned and skilled trial attorney and former Fairfax County prosecutor. When knowledge, skill and experience matter most to you trust in Fairfax Criminal Lawyer & Attorney  George  Freeman. Initial in-person consultations are free. 

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