Under Washington law, people convicted of felonies typically lose their right to possess firearms. As such, if they are found with a weapon in their possession, they may be charged with criminal offenses. The State does not actually have to catch a person holding a gun to convict them of unlawfully possessing a weapon, though, as discussed in a recent Washington opinion in which the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for unlawfully possessing a gun. If you are accused of a firearms offense, it is advisable to consult a Washington weapons charges defense lawyer to discuss your options for seeking a favorable outcome.
Facts of the Case
Allegedly, the defendant took his girlfriend to the hospital after she was shot in the back. He ran into the emergency department screaming that she had a gunshot wound and then immediately left the building. He later returned and reported that they were cleaning, and he heard a pop and saw that his girlfriend had fallen to the floor. He later reported that he accidentally shot her.
It is reported that the State charged the defendant, a convicted felon, with assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm. A jury convicted him, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the State lacked sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction for the weapons charge.
Evidence of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
On appeal, the defendant argued that there was no eyewitness testimony that he was seen with a firearm on or around the date of the incident, and no gun was found during a search of his car or home. The court noted, though, that the victim stated the defendant had been in possession of a gun a month before the incident, and she was shot in her home when only she and the defendant were present.
Further, a 9 mm shell was found near where she was shot, and the doctor that tended to her in the emergency room indicated that she had been shot by a bullet that was 9 mm or smaller. The court explained that circumstantial and direct evidence is equally reliable, and the courts defer to the fact finder on issues of witness credibility, conflicting testimony, and the persuasiveness of evidence. Here, the court found that the evidence presented at trial was adequate for a reasonable jury to convict the defendant of unlawful possession of a firearm. Thus, it denied his appeal as to his conviction for that charge.
Speak to an Experienced Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer
The State must produce evidence sufficient to prove each element of a weapons charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it cannot, it should not be able to obtain a guilty verdict. If you are faced with accusations that you unlawfully possessed a weapon, it is smart to speak to an attorney. The experienced Washington weapons charges defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Smith & White can assess the circumstances surrounding your arrest and develop a strategy designed to provide you with a strong chance of a good result. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 253-363-8662 to set up a conference.