What Happens If You Get Caught with Drugs and a Gun in AR?
Charges for offenses involving drugs are serious. They carry penalties that can include thousands of dollars in fines and years of incarceration.
But a drug crime can be considered even more severe if it involved the defendant in possession of a firearm or other weapon. In these cases, additional charges and penalties can be imposed, and they are not light punishments. A conviction can result in decades to life in prison.
What Is Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms?
Simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms is prohibited under A.C.A. § 5-74-106. Essentially, the law says that a person commits a crime when they have both drugs and a gun or other weapon on them.
The law does not require that the gun or weapon be displayed or used. Simply being in possession of it at the same time as being in control of drugs is criminal.
When Do Simultaneous Possession Charges Apply?
The law says that a person can be charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms when they commit a felony violation under A.C.A. §§ 5-64-419 through § 5-64-442. These sections of the Arkansas Code apply to various drug crimes, from simple possession to trafficking.
The simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms law does not apply to misdemeanor controlled substance offenses. However, only a few drug crimes are misdemeanors. In fact, of the 20 or so statutes the simultaneous possession applies to, 8 of them can be charged as misdemeanors.
These misdemeanor offenses include:
- Possession of less than 2 grams of a Schedule III substance
- Possession of less than 28 grams of a Schedule IV or V controlled substance
- Possession of less than 4 ounces of a Schedule VI controlled substance
- Possession with intent to deliver 14 grams or less of a Schedule VI controlled substance
- Delivery of 14 grams or less of a Schedule VI controlled substance
- Manufacture of 14 grams or less of a Schedule VI controlled substance
- Possession of a Schedule III, IV, V, or VI counterfeit controlled substance
- Possession with intent to deliver a Schedule IV, V, or VI counterfeit controlled substance
All other possession, possession with intent, manufacturing, and delivery charges are felonies. For instance, manufacturing less than 2 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, or cocaine is a Class C felony. Or delivering less than 200 grams of a Schedule IV or V controlled substance is a Class D felony.
What Are the Penalties for Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms?
In Arkansas, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms is a Class Y felony. This is the most serious classification for felonies and is reserved for the severest of crimes.
Class Y felonies are punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
The reason that the potential penalties for simultaneous possession are so high is likely because of what the offense suggests. A person with drugs and a gun or other weapon on them is assumed to have intended to further an offense like drug trafficking or commit a crime against a person.
Are Any Defenses Available for Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms Charges?
The law states that a person can raise as a defense the fact that they were in their own home and the gun was not immediately accessible or usable.
However, that’s not the only defense that can be raised. If you have been charged, have a criminal defense lawyer review and evaluate your case. They can let you know your options and develop a legal strategy for your unique situation.
Norwood & Norwood, P.A. Can Help Fight Your Charge
Our Northwest Arkansas team has over 100 years of combined experience and a track record of results. We have handled thousands of drug cases and have obtained favorable outcomes for past clients, including case dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and reductions of charges. Although past achievements do not guarantee future victories, we are willing and able to do what it takes to protect our clients’ rights and futures.
To schedule a consultation with us, call (479) 235-4600 or submit an online contact form.