Firearms & Weapon Charge Defense Lawyers in Topeka

Weapons & Firearm Criminal Defense Lawyers in Topeka Kansas

Kansas remains a state where obtaining a firearm is relatively simple if you abide by the laws. However, if you are convicted of a firearm’s offense in Kansas, you are likely looking at jail time, a substantial fine, and a permanent criminal record.

Leniency is likely to be in short supply, and your right to own weapons of any kind in the future may be in jeopardy.

The short-term consequences are severe enough, but when you consider the impact of a criminal record upon your future employment, travel, housing options and other aspects of your life, it’s clear that you need to defend yourself vigorously against a weapons charge.

At Irigonegaray, Turney, Revenaugh, LLP, our experienced team of attorneys provides legal guidance and will fight to protect your rights and freedoms if you are facing weapon charges in the Topeka area.

What are the most common firearm & weapon violations in Kansas?

Weapons crimes are included as part of the crimes against the public safety section of the Kansas statutes (see below).

The following crimes are the most commonly charged in Kansas:

  • Criminal use of weapons
  • Criminal carrying of a weapon
  • Criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Criminal distribution of firearms to a felon
  • Aggravated weapons violation by a convicted felon
  • Defacing identification marks on a firearm
  • Criminal discharge of a firearm
  • Unlawful discharge of a firearm in a city
  • Unlawful possession of firearms on certain government property
  • Failure to register explosives
  • Criminal possession of explosives
  • Criminal disposal of explosives
  • Carrying concealed explosives
  • Possession of a firearm under the influence​
  • Modifying a semi-automatic weapon to an automatic weapon
  • Shortening the barrel of a shotgun
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit
  • Illegal sales of a firearm
  • Brandishing a firearm

Punishments for firearm and weapon offenses range from a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to one month in jail, up to person and nonperson felony offense punishments, which are determined by the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA).

In the most serious of cases, being found guilty of a severity level-three person felony could lead to a prison term of 61 months (if you don’t have a criminal record) but much longer (up to 247 months) if you have previous felony convictions.

What is a felony gun possession charge in Kansas?

Simple gun possession can be a felony charge in Kansas if the owner falls into one of several people categories.

Under the law, it is a felony offense for the following to possess or carry a firearm:

  • Anyone convicted of certain felony offenses
  • Anyone unlawfully using certain controlled substances
  • Anyone who is a habitual drunkard

It is also against the law and a felony charge to possess firearms on school grounds or in any other state-owned building.

A felon in possession of a weapon is a federal offense that could involve an indictment by a grand jury. Mandatory sentences often apply.

​In fact, according to the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), firearms offenses accounted for 16.8 percent of all offenses carrying mandatory minimum penalties in the US in 2016.  Most of these offenders were also convicted of other crimes in addition to the weapons violation.

Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, felons with three or more convictions for certain violent felonies or serious drug crimes can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison up to a life sentence.

Suffice to say, any felony punishment is likely to be severe and you can expect considerable jail time if convicted.

How to defend against a weapon charge in Topeka, Kansas

Because of the wide variety of weapons charges, there are many possible defenses available depending on the exact nature of the alleged violation.

Generally, one of the most important aspects of a defense for a weapons charge is the actions of law enforcement officers when they investigated and arrested you.

Was information gathered from questionable informants? Was entrapment used in your case? Did investigators exceed their authority and cross any legal boundaries? Did you knowingly break the law?

An illegal search of your car or home could make the evidence found against you inadmissible in court and the case will be thrown out.

At ITR Law, your criminal defense lawyer will search meticulously for such weaknesses in the prosecution’s case when building your defense. If your charge requires the prosecutors to prove that the defendant had criminal intent (“mens rea”) we will build a case to bring this into serious doubt.

Some weapons charges can be challenging to prove beyond a reasonable doubt because the prosecution must try to demonstrate what a person was thinking at the time. This may create good opportunities for a defense.

Weapons laws can be confusing, so a defendant may be genuinely unaware that he or she was acting unlawfully. Many people are charged for a crime they did not know they were committing, and while this is no defense in most cases, it can act as a mitigating circumstance at least.

Kansas firearm statutes

21-4201 Criminal use of weapons.

(a) Criminal use of weapons is knowingly:

(1)  Selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying any bludgeon, sandclub, metal knuckles or throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switch-blade, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or any knife having a blade that opens or falls or is ejected into position by the force of gravity or by an outward, downward or centrifugal thrust or movement. This subsection shall not prohibit any ordinary pocket knife which has a spring, detent or other device which creates a bias towards closure of the blade and which requires hand pressure applied to such spring, detent or device through the blade of the knife to overcome the bias towards closure to assist in the opening of the knife;

(2)  carrying concealed on one’s person, or possessing with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, blackjack, slungshot, dangerous knife, straight-edged razor, stiletto or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character, except that an ordinary pocket knife with no blade more than four inches in length shall not be construed to be a dangerous knife, or a dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument;

(3)  carrying on one’s person or in any land, water or air vehicle, with intent to use the same unlawfully, a tear gas or smoke bomb or projector or any object containing a noxious liquid, gas or substance;

(4)  carrying any pistol, revolver or other firearm concealed on one’s person except when on the person’s land or in the person’s abode or fixed place of business;

(5)  setting a spring gun;

(6)  possessing any device or attachment of any kind designed, used or intended for use in suppressing the report of any firearm;

(7)  selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length or any other firearm designed to discharge or capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger; or

(8)  possessing, manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, selling, offering for sale, lending, purchasing or giving away any cartridge which can be fired by a handgun and which has a plastic-coated bullet that has a core of less than 60% lead by weight.

(b)  Subsections (a)(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) shall not apply to or affect any of the following:

(1)  Law enforcement officers, or any person summoned by any such officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while actually engaged in assisting such officer;

(2)  wardens, superintendents, directors, security personnel and keepers of prisons, penitentiaries, jails and other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of crime, while acting within the scope of their authority;

(3)  members of the armed services or reserve forces of the United States or the Kansas national guard while in the performance of their official duty; or

(4)  manufacture of, transportation to, or sale of weapons to a person authorized under subsections (b)(1), (2) and (3) to possess such weapons.

(c)  Subsection (a)(4) shall not apply to or affect the following:

(1)  Watchmen, while actually engaged in the performance of the duties of their employment;

(2)  licensed hunters or fishermen, while engaged in hunting or fishing;

(3)  private detectives licensed by the state to carry the firearm involved, while actually engaged in the duties of their employment;

(4)  detectives or special agents regularly employed by railroad companies or other corporations to perform full-time security or investigative service, while actually engaged in the duties of their employment;

(5)  the state fire marshal, the state fire marshal’s deputies or any member of a fire department authorized to carry a firearm pursuant to K.S.A. 31-157 and amendments thereto, while engaged in an investigation in which such fire marshal, deputy or member is authorized to carry a firearm pursuant to K.S.A. 31-157 and amendments thereto;

(6)  special deputy sheriffs described in K.S.A. 19-827, and amendments thereto, who have satisfactorily completed the basic course of instruction required for permanent appointment as a part-time law enforcement officer under K.S.A. 74-5607a and amendments thereto; or

(7)  the United States attorney for the district of Kansas, the attorney general, any district attorney or county attorney, any assistant United States attorney if authorized by the United States attorney for the district of Kansas, any assistant attorney general if authorized by the attorney general, or any assistant district attorney or assistant county attorney if authorized by the district attorney or county attorney by whom such assistant is employed. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any person not in compliance with K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c19, and amendments thereto.

(d)  Subsections (a)(1), (6) and (7) shall not apply to any person who sells, purchases, possesses or carries a firearm, device or attachment which has been rendered unserviceable by steel weld in the chamber and marriage weld of the barrel to the receiver and which has been registered in the national firearms registration and transfer record in compliance with 26 U.S.C. 5841 et seq. in the name of such person and, if such person transfers such firearm, device or attachment to another person, has been so registered in the transferee’s name by the transferor.

(e)  Subsection (a)(8) shall not apply to a governmental laboratory or solid plastic bullets.

(f)  Subsection (a)(6) shall not apply to a law enforcement officer who is:

(1)  Assigned by the head of such officer’s law enforcement agency to a tactical unit which receives specialized, regular training;

(2)  designated by the head of such officer’s law enforcement agency to possess devices described in subsection (a)(6); and

(3)  in possession of commercially manufactured devices which are: (A) Owned by the law enforcement agency; (B) in such officer’s possession only during specific operations; and (C) approved by the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives of the United States department of justice.

(g)  Subsections (a)(6), (7) and (8) shall not apply to any person employed by a laboratory which is certified by the United States department of justice, national institute of justice, while actually engaged in the duties of their employment and on the premises of such certified laboratory. Subsections (a)(6), (7) and (8) shall not affect the manufacture of, transportation to or sale of weapons to such certified laboratory.

(h)  Subsection (a)(4) shall not apply to any person carrying a concealed handgun as authorized by K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c01 et seq., and amendments thereto. It shall not be a violation of this section if a person violates the provisions of K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c03, and amendments thereto, but has an otherwise valid license to carry a concealed handgun which is issued or recognized by this state.

(i)  Subsections (a)(6) and (7) shall not apply to or affect any person or entity in compliance with the national firearms act, 26 U.S.C. 5801 et seq.

(j)  It shall be a defense that the defendant is within an exemption.

(k)  Violation of subsections (a)(1) through (a)(5) is a class A nonperson misdemeanor. Violation of subsection (a)(6), (a)(7) or (a)(8) is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.

(l)  As used in this section, “throwing star” means any instrument, without handles, consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape, manufactured for use as a weapon for throwing.

21-4202 Aggravated weapons violation.

(a) An aggravated weapons violation is a violation of any of the provisions of K.S.A. 21-4201 and amendments thereto by a person who:

(1) Within five years preceding such violation has been convicted of a nonperson felony under the laws of Kansas or any other jurisdiction or has been released from imprisonment for such nonperson felony; or

(2)  has been convicted of a person felony pursuant to the Kansas laws or in any other jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such crime or has been released from imprisonment for such crime, and has not had the conviction of such crime expunged or been pardoned for such crime.

(b) (1)  Aggravated weapons violation is a severity level 9, nonperson felony for a violation of subsections (a)(1) through (a)(5) or subsection (a)(9) of K.S.A. 21-4201 and amendments thereto.

(2)  Aggravated weapons violation is a severity level 8, nonperson felony for a violation of subsections (a)(6), (a)(7) and (a)(8) of K.S.A. 21-4201 and amendments thereto.

21-4203 Criminal disposal of firearms.

(a) Criminal disposal of firearms is knowingly:

(1)  Selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches long to any person under 18 years of age;

(2)  selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearms to any person who is both addicted to and an unlawful user of a controlled substance;

(3)  selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm to any person who, within the preceding five years, has been convicted of a felony, other than those specified in subsection (b), under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction or has been released from imprisonment for a felony and was found not to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;

(4)  selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm to any person who, within the preceding 10 years, has been convicted of a felony to which this subsection applies, but was not found to have been in the possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense, or has been released from imprisonment for such a crime, and has not had the conviction of such crime expunged or been pardoned for such crime;

(5)  selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm to any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction and was found to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense; or

(6)  selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm to any person who is or has been a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment, as defined in K.S.A. 59-2946, and amendments thereto, or a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as defined in K.S.A. 59-29b46, and amendments thereto, and such person has not received a certificate of restoration pursuant to K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c26, and amendments thereto.

(b)  Subsection (a)(4) shall apply to a felony under K.S.A. 21-3401, 21-3402, 21-3403, 21-3404, 21-3410, 21-3411, 21-3414, 21-3415, 21-3419, 21-3420, 21-3421, 21-3427, 21-3442, 21-3502, 21-3506, 21-3518, 21-3716, K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-36a05 or 21-36a06, and amendments thereto, or K.S.A. 65-4127a, 65-4127b, or 65-4160 through 65-4165, prior to such section’s repeal, or a crime under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such felony.

(c)  Criminal disposal of firearms is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

21-4204 Criminal possession of a firearm.

(a) Criminal possession of a firearm is:

(1)  Possession of any firearm by a person who is both addicted to and an unlawful user of a controlled substance;

(2)  possession of any firearm by a person who has been convicted of a person felony, a violation of K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-36a01 through 21-36a17, and amendments thereto, or any violation of any provision of the uniform controlled substances act prior to July 1, 2009, or a crime under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such felony or violation, or was adjudicated a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a person felony, a violation of K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-36a01 through 21-36a17, and amendments thereto, or any violation of any provision of the uniform controlled substances act prior to July 1, 2009, and was found to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;

(3)  possession of any firearm by a person who, within the preceding five years has been convicted of a felony, other than those specified in subsection (a)(4)(A), under the laws of Kansas or a crime under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such felony, has been released from imprisonment for a felony or was adjudicated as a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a felony, and was found not to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;

(4)  possession of any firearm by a person who, within the preceding 10 years, has been convicted of: (A) A felony under K.S.A. 21-3401, 21-3402, 21-3403, 21-3404, 21-3410, 21-3411, 21-3414, 21-3415, 21-3419, 21-3420, 21-3421, 21-3427, 21-3442, 21-3502, 21-3506, 21-3518, 21-3716, K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-36a03, 21-36a05, 21-36a06, 21-36a07 or 21-36a09, and amendments thereto; K.S.A. 65-4127a, 65-4127b, 65-4159 through 65-4165 or 65-7006, prior to such section’s repeal; an attempt, conspiracy or criminal solicitation, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3301, 21-3302 or 21-3303, and amendments thereto, of any such felony; or a crime under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such felony, has been released from imprisonment for such felony, or was adjudicated as a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of such felony, was found not to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense, and has not had the conviction of such crime expunged or been pardoned for such crime; or (B) a nonperson felony under the laws of Kansas or a crime under the laws of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such nonperson felony, has been released from imprisonment for such nonperson felony or was adjudicated as a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a nonperson felony, and was found to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;

(5)  possession of any firearm by any person, other than a law enforcement officer, in or on any school property or grounds upon which is located a building or structure used by a unified school district or an accredited nonpublic school for student instruction or attendance or extracurricular activities of pupils enrolled in kindergarten or any of the grades 1 through 12 or at any regularly scheduled school sponsored activity or event;

(6)  refusal to surrender or immediately remove from school property or grounds or at any regularly scheduled school sponsored activity or event any firearm in the possession of any person, other than a law enforcement officer, when so requested or directed by any duly authorized school employee or any law enforcement officer; or

(7)  possession of any firearm by a person who is or has been a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment, as defined in K.S.A. 59-2946, and amendments thereto, or persons with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as defined in K.S.A. 59-29b46, and amendments thereto.

(b)  Subsection (a)(5) shall not apply to:

(1)  Possession of any firearm in connection with a firearms safety course of instruction or firearms education course approved and authorized by the school;

(2)  any possession of any firearm specifically authorized in writing by the superintendent of any unified school district or the chief administrator of any accredited nonpublic school;

(3)  possession of a firearm secured in a motor vehicle by a parent, guardian, custodian or someone authorized to act in such person’s behalf who is delivering or collecting a student; or

(4)  possession of a firearm secured in a motor vehicle by a registered voter who is on the school grounds, which contain a polling place for the purpose of voting during polling hours on an election day; or

(5)  possession of a handgun by an individual who is licensed by the attorney general to carry a concealed handgun under K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c01 et seq., and amendments thereto.

(c)  Subsection (a)(7) shall not apply to a person who has received a certificate of restoration pursuant to K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 75-7c26, and amendments thereto.

(d)  Violation of subsection (a)(1) or (a)(5) is a class B nonperson select misdemeanor; violation of subsection (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4) or (a)(7) is a severity level 8, nonperson felony; violation of subsection (a)(6) is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

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Pedro Irigonegaray is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, professional and compassionate attorneys I have ever known. When you need legal advice or someone to fight for you, get the best. Talk to Mr. Irgonegaray.

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Our attorneys’ experience in criminal defense means that, if we take your case on, we are confident of preparing a rigorous defense.

We will focus on key areas such as the following:

  • The precise evidence against you
  • The credibility of accusers and/or witnesses
  • How the evidence was collected by criminal investigators
  • How you were informed of your legal rights by the police
  • Interrogation procedures and other protocols
  • Your state of mental health at the time of the alleged crime
  • Whether there are other factors that explain your alleged actions

In this way, we will build a robust case that will stand up to scrutiny and provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome.

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