What is an Offensive Weapon in Pennsylvania?

Posted on February 3rd, 2022 in Criminal Charges

When you were charged with one crime, you might not have expected to also be charged with a weapons offense. Maybe you were carrying something without even realizing that it was considered an offensive weapon. You can be charged with a weapons offense even if you had no malicious intent, so when it happens, you may be caught completely off guard.

Being charged with a weapons offense can have serious consequences. You can face years in prison or thousands of dollars in fines when you weren’t even aware you had an offensive weapon. However, an experienced Scranton criminal defense lawyer can help protect your future and answer any questions you have about being charged with a weapons offense.

Are Offensive Weapons Limited to Guns?

Guns are likely the type of weapon people hear about most often, but this isn’t the only weapon that is prohibited in Pennsylvania. While firearms are considered to be offensive weapons, they are not the only weapons that you can be charged for having. More items can be considered an offensive weapon than many may realize.

Under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 908, the following weapons are classified as offensive weapons in Pennsylvania:

  • Bombs
  • Grenades
  • Machine guns
  • Sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches
  • Firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge
  • Any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor, or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise
  • Any stun gun, stun baton, taser, other electronics or electric weapons, or other implements for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose

While certain weapons are illegal for anyone to own, there are also individuals who are prohibited from owning any type of weapon. This includes individuals who have previously been convicted of certain offenses, fugitives from justice, those deemed incompetent or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, immigrants in the country illegally, or the subject of an active final protection from abuse order.

Do You Have to Be Using an Offensive Weapon to Be Charged?

If someone is visibly wielding a weapon or threatening someone with one, being charged with a crime wouldn’t come as a surprise. However, you can be charged with a weapons offense even if you aren’t using it at that moment. In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with a weapons offense if you repaired, sold, otherwise dealt in, or possessed an offensive weapon, except as authorized by law.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

You might think that if you’re charged with a weapons offense, there isn’t much that you can do about it. With the help of a Scranton criminal defense attorney, you can get the best chance at protecting your future.

Contact Kalinoski Law Offices today to get a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.

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