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Tuesday’s Legal Tidbit: What Charges Does a First Offender Probationer Face for Firearm Possession?

Question: My Brother is in the third-year of a first offender probation sentence in Cobb County for felony theft by taking. He was recently arrested at Walmart for misdemeanor theft by shoplifting and had a .380 handgun in his jacket pocket. He is now being charged with the misdemeanor and “Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon or a First Offender Probationer.” What is he facing now?

Answer: OCGA 16-11-131(b) states that “any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years; provided, however, that if the felony as to which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years.”

First, prison time is what your brother is potentially facing on the new charge of Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer. Under Georgia Law, a first offender probationer is strictly prohibited from carrying a firearm even though they have not been adjudicated of a felony and sentenced as a felon.

Next, your brother also violated his probation by being arrested for a new felony. Accordingly, his probation can be potentially be revoked and he can be re-sentenced to the maximum of 10 years on the felony theft by taking probation violation and adjudicated a felon by the sentencing judge. This can be run concurrent (together) or consecutive (back-to-back) to the potential 5 years that he could possibly receive for the new felony charge of Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer.

Carrying a firearm while restricted to do so can carry severe penalties in Georgia. Please don’t do it. If you or someone you know has a firearm charge, please call The Boddie Law Group, LLC at 404-287-2393.

(c) 2012. The Boddie Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. The information contained in this post is subject to our Disclaimer. Comments to this blog are moderated.

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Tuesday’s Legal Tidbit: Could Teen Face Criminal Charges for Carrying Concealed Handgun on School Property?

Question: Last week, my 17 year-old son was carrying my handgun on the school bus inside his coat pocket. While he was standing in line waiting to get on the school bus, he dropped his student ID card. When he bent down to pick it up, the gun fell out to the ground. He told police he was carrying the gun because he was getting threats from a local gang member. The gang member said that he was going to rob my son of his money and iPad when he saw him again walking from his bus stop to our house. My son is a senior at a high school in Cobb County and does not have a license to carry a concealed weapon. What is my son possibly facing in criminal court?

Answer: Your son was arrested based on a provision of Georgia law covering possession and carrying of firearms at unauthorized location. To do so, even if the individual has a concealed weapon license, could still make it a misdemeanor crime. Accordingly, because the student is classified as an adult under the Georgia criminal code, he is looking at a possible felony charge.

O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1(b)(1), states “it shall be unlawful for any person to carry to or to possess or have under such person’s control while within a school safety zone or at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school any weapon or explosive compound…” The punishment would have been a misdemeanor if the student was 21 years of age and had obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon in Georgia. However, this is not the case and the 17 year-old high school student is subject to becoming a convicted felon.

The penalty for such offense is outlined in O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1(b)(2) which states “Any person who is not a license holder who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years, or both.”

Carrying an unlicensed, concealed weapon into specific places such as a school zone in Georgia can be a serious crime. While bills have been introduced to lift restrictions in other areas of the law, student safety in school zones remained a top priority for Georgia lawmakers. Therefore, know the law as it relates to carrying a weapon or firearm of any type in this state or you, too, could run seriously afoul of state law.

If you or someone you know has questions about weapons laws in Georgia or are facing weapons charges, please call The Boddie Law Group at (404) 287-2393 for a complete consultation.

(c) 2012. The Boddie Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. The information contained in this post is subject to our Disclaimer. Comments to this blog are moderated.

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