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Washington Court Discusses Sentencing for Firearm Enhancements

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2021 | Firearms

People charged with weapons crimes in Washington may face significant penalties. In some instances, it is within the discretion of the sentencing court to determine whether the circumstances warrant a lesser sentence than called for by the guidelines. Extraordinary sentences will only be granted in certain circumstances, though, as demonstrated in a recent Washington ruling. If you are accused of committing a crime involving a firearm, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Washington weapons charge defense attorney to discuss your options.

The Defendant’s Conviction and Sentence

It is reported that the defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and robbery with a firearm enhancement. He pleaded guilty to both charges. He was nineteen years old at the time he committed the offenses. Thus, during the sentencing hearing, he requested that he receive an exceptional sentence due to his youth. For the base sentence, the trial court imposed a sentence of fifty-four months imprisonment, which was below the standard range. For the firearm enhancement, though, the court found that it did not have the discretion to reduce the standard sentence or to allow it to run at the same time as the base sentence and sentenced the defendant to sixty additional months in prison. The defendant then appealed.

Discretion in Sentencing for Convictions of Firearm Charges

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court was not persuaded by the defendant’s argument that the trial court failed to acknowledge its discretion to reduce the length of the firearm enhancement or to permit it to run at the same time as the base sentence, as an exceptional sentence based on the defendant’s youth. Instead, the court noted that it recently ruled on the precise issue at hand, nothing that trial courts do not have the authority to impose an exceptional downward sentence for a firearm enhancement, in cases in which the defendant was not a juvenile at the time the crime was committed.

As the defendant was nineteen when he committed the offense, he was not a minor, and the court affirmed the trial court lacked the discretion to reduce the standard sentence. The defendant also argued that the trial court erred in ordering that the defendant was not permitted to have any contact with a chain of grocery stores throughout Washington for the remainder of his life, noting that the store was neither a victim of a nor a witness to the crime. The State conceded the error, and that portion of the defendant’s sentence was remanded to be corrected.

Meet with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington

It is important for people charged with firearm offenses to understand the penalties they may face if convicted. If you are faced with weapons charges, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss your potential defenses. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith & White can advise you of your rights and develop a strategy designed to help you seek the best result available in your case. You can reach us at 253-363-8662 or through the online form to set up a meeting.