Weapon, Firearm, and Gun Offences Lawyer in Toronto
Weapon offences are on the severe spectrum of crimes in Canada, and they carry some of the most devastating and long-term penalties. Firearm and gun charges are vast, and they range from standalone charges, such as possession of an unlicensed gun, to offences connected to other crimes, such as robbery with a weapon. Whichever weapon offence you may be facing, a conviction can lead to a tremendous impact on your life, including your freedom and future prospects.
What is a weapon?
The Criminal Code of Canada defines a weapon as anything used, designed to be used, or intended to be used in causing death or injury to another person, or for the purposes of threatening or intimidating another individual. This means that anything can be a weapon as long as it fits the definition provided by the Criminal Code.
Guns and firearms are among the most dangerous weapons, and their charges carry some of the most serious consequences, including mandatory minimum sentences. In this article, we’ll take a look at several firearm and gun offences, their penalties, and possible defence strategies.
If you, or someone you know, are under investigation or charged with gun, firearm, or other weapon offences, get in touch with our Toronto criminal defence lawyer. Kahlon law has experience and knowledge in weapon offences Kahlon Law the ideal firm to help you attain the best possible outcome in your case.
What is a firearm?
According to section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada, a firearm is a barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet, or other projectiles can be discharged, and that is capable of causing serious bodily harm or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barreled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm.
As per the definition, firearms include not only fully functioning handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and hunting rifles, but also air pistols, unregulated BB guns and anything capable of firing a projecting capable of causing harm or death to a person. An incomplete firearm, such as a receiver blank or “80% pistol kit,” can also be regarded as a firearm under the adaptability clause of the firearm definition.
Using, pointing, carelessly storing, and in most cases, possessing a firearm are serious criminal offences. Unlike many other offences, a person who is found guilty can be ordered to suffer long and in certain circumstances, a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
Types of Gun Offences
The charge may come under different names such as using firearm in commission of offence, using imitation firearm in commission of offence, careless use of firearm, pointing a firearm, possession of weapon for dangerous purpose, carrying a concealed weapon, unauthorized possession of a firearm etc.
Section 85 of the Criminal Code criminalizes the use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence. If an individual uses a firearm while committing or attempting to commit certain indictable offences, they are liable to at least one year of imprisonment, up to a maximum of fourteen years. This rule also applies when the accused has used an imitation firearm for the above-mentioned purposes. Moreover, if the accused commits this offence again, he will face a minimum of three years of imprisonment. Although the courts have deemed a number of mandatory minimum sentences to be unconstitutional, the courts continue to uphold the constitutionality of the mandatory minimums associated with this particular offence.
Similarly, as per Section 86 of the Code, if a person uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner without any lawful excuse, they will be liable to punishment either by a summary conviction or by indictment. As it is a hybrid offence, the crown will determine whether they wish to process summarily or by indictment. The crown will take the severity of the offence along with other circumstances related to the case and the accused into consideration when making the determination. Should the Crown proceed by indictment, the maximum penalty one receives is an imprisonment term of up two years. Any subsequent offence would result an increase in the maximum penalty up to five years.
Moreover, pointing a firearm towards someone without lawful excuse is also a crime. Section 87 governs the offence and an accused can receive an imprisonment term of up to five years for doing so. In some cases, the accused can be convicted in a summary manner rather by indictment.
Furthermore, carrying or possessing a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence is punishable under Section 88 with up to ten years of jail in case of indictment, or in certain cases with a summary conviction.
Also, you cannot carry a concealed weapon unless they are authorized under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed. Otherwise you may be charged with committing the offence under Section 90 which can result in finding of guilt of an indictable offence and you may be punished to a jail sentence of up to five years, or you may be tried and convicted summarily.
There can be a number of legal defences which may be available in your case. The Charter of Rights & Freedoms might provide a defence for individuals whose rights were violated in the course of the investigation, arrest or search of their property. As a result of a Charter violation, the Court may exclude evidence of the weapon at trial.
It is the Crown’s onus to prove possession beyond a reasonable doubt. Possession related offences require knowledge and control. A firearm found in a car or a house doesn’t mean that the crown can prove possession beyond a reasonable doubt. It many instances, these locations are frequented by more than one person.
Firearm related charges are very serious and require lawyers with specialized knowledge. At Kahlon Law, the firm will examine all the aspect of the offence and choose from an endless array of strategies to raise reasonable doubt to prove your innocence.
Mode of Trial
If you face indictment, you will have the liberty to choose your mode of trial. You can be tried by a judge alone, or by a jury and a judge. A Criminal Defense Lawyer will help you choose your best course of action.
Rights after Arrest
If the police arrest you for any offence, you still retain all your legal and constitutional rights, which include the right to consult a lawyer, right to obtain bail, and more. The police must let you speak to your lawyer before taking your statement. In such scenario, it is advised that a good Criminal Defense Lawyer should be contacted so that you being a layman in terms of legal issues may not make a grave mistake.
Bail in Gun Offences
The next step after arrest is to obtain bail. The Crown almost always opposes bail in cases involving firearms. Obtaining bail in firearms cases is also much more difficult than in the past. Despite this, Kahlon Law has had a great amount of success in obtaining bail for clients charged with firearm related offences. At a bail hearing, the lawyer will argue before the judge or a justice of peace as to why his client is legally entitled to be released.
If you are in Ontario and you ever find yourself in a situation where you are or might be arrested, give us a call at (844) 978-8444 and rest assured that there will be a licensed professional looking out for your freedom and well-being.
What is the sentence for possession of a firearm?
Possession of a firearm without a license, or authorization and registration certificate for prohibited or restricted firearms, carries serious sentences depending on the circumstances of the offence. The prosecution can decide to prosecute any firearm possession charge as an indictable offence or as an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Indictable firearm possession charges carry varying jail sentences, including:
- A maximum of five years for unauthorized possession of a firearm
- A maximum of ten years for unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle
- A maximum of ten years for possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition (loaded or readily accessible to load)
Offences punishable by summary conviction also pose jail time, ranging from six months to two years, depending on the possession charge.
If you, or your loved one, are facing possession of firearm charges, enlist the services of an experienced firearm offence lawyer in Toronto. Kahlon Law will help you avert or alleviate the charge’s severe sentences.
What is “trafficking a firearm” or “conspiracy to traffic a firearm”?
As per section 99 of the Criminal Code, every person commits a weapons trafficking offence if they
- manufacture or transfer, whether or not for consideration, or
- offer to do anything referred to in paragraph (a) in respect of a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted firearm, a non-restricted firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition or prohibited ammunition, knowing that they’re not authorized to do so under the Firearms Act or any regulations under any Acts of Parliament.
If you’re charged with weapons trafficking, contact Kahlon Law immediately. The firm will utilize the available defences to protect you and attain a suitable outcome.
What is the sentence for trafficking a firearm or conspiracy to traffic a firearm?
Anyone charged with trafficking firearms, whether manufacturing or transferring or offering to do any of the two, is guilty of an indictable offence and can face a jail sentence of up to 10 years. Some trafficking offences also carry mandatory minimum sentences of 3 years for the first offence and 5 years for a second or subsequent offence.
Gun Laws are undergoing lots of changes, especially the repealing of mandatory minimum sentences. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer by your side, as they’ll use these developments to your benefit.
What does “weapons dangerous” mean?
Weapons dangerous refers to carrying or possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Section 88 of the Criminal Code expounds this offence as follows:
- every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
A purpose dangerous to the public peace is any action that disturbs the status quo of the society or any harmful behaviour towards the people. If you’re charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, enlist Kahlon Law for exceptional legal representation.
What is the sentence for “weapons dangerous”?
Possession of weapons for a dangerous purpose is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown Attorneys can prosecute it as an indictable offence or as an offence punishable by summary conviction. If they proceed through indictment, one can face a jail sentence of up to 10 years.
What does “carry concealed weapon” mean?
This means carrying a weapon while hiding it on your body or in your belongings.
As per section 90 of the Criminal Code:
- Every one commits an offence who carries a weapon, prohibited device or prohibited ammunition concealed, unless the person is authorized under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed.
What is the sentence for “carrying a concealed weapon”?
If you’re arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, the Crown Attorney’s Office holds the cards on how to proceed with the prosecution, i.e., through indictment or summary conviction. Several factors determine how they proceed, such as why you were carrying a concealed weapon and your prior convictions, if any.
As an indictable offence, carrying a concealed weapon poses a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. There are also mandatory minimum sentences for some charges involving a concealed weapon.
With such severe penalties, it’s essential to have a highly experienced lawyer when facing such or related weapon offences. Contact Kahlon Law for expert legal advice.
Are sentences higher if there has been a prior conviction?
Having a prior conviction may act as an aggravating factor during sentencing. Aggravating factors are elements that may increase the severity of a case. Having a prior conviction may lead to a more severe sentence, especially for the same criminal charges, as it shows less chance for rehabilitation and a higher risk for the public.
A previous conviction will make you illegible to the first-time offender mitigation.
If you’re facing a criminal offence and have a prior conviction, it’s advisable to have an experienced lawyer handling the allegations you’re facing.
What are Guns and Gangs investigations or Project Cases?
Within the police service, special units are created to investigate specific cases. One of the special units is the Guns and Gangs Unit, which investigates major crimes, particularly organized crimes such as guns and drugs trafficking gangs and syndicates. Their investigations are often large, long-term, extensive, and they may entail surveillance and undercover work.
These cases are sometimes referred to as Project Cases, and they entail serious charges, including conspiracy charges, attempted murder, and violent offence allegations. Such cases carry severe long-term penalties.
If you’re charged with such a case, contact Kahlon Law. The firm has experience in complex and major crimes, and the required knowledge and advocacy skills to litigate your case.
What are my Charter Rights?
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada provides and guarantees rights and freedoms to its people. These rights must be adhered to by the police as they conduct their investigations, arrests, and when charging you with a crime. Some of the Charter Rights include:
- right to remain silent
- right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure
- right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned
- right to be informed of the reason for the arrest
- right to retain counsel without delay
- right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
These are a few of the Charter Rights that everyone is entitled to. To learn more about the rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, click here.
Can the Charter help my defence?
Yes, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is one of the best defence strategies a lawyer can use. The Charter guarantees certain rights to the accused, which should be adhered to by the police during the investigation of the circumstances that led to the arrest, including the collection of evidence and obtaining warrants. At Kahlon Law, the firm digs deep through all the disclosure documents to check if any rights were breached. If they were, we can challenge the charges and work towards getting any evidence and statements obtained illegally excluded, which can significantly weaken the case against you.
Can I get assistance from Legal Aid Ontario for my case?
If you meet the eligibility requirements for legal aid, then you can get assistance from Legal Aid Ontario. One of the main qualifying factors is financial disadvantage.
As per the type of legal assistance you require, your financial status, and other factors, LAO may cover some or all of your legal costs. To learn more about Legal Aid Ontario and to check whether you qualify, click here.