The Crime

Possession of Prohibited Weapons is a felony offense (though it may also be classified as a misdemeanor offense) that can seriously damage your record and your reputation. If you have been charged with Possession of Prohibited Weapons, you should seek help from the Knoxville criminal defense attorneys at the Oberman & Rice Law Firm.

In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Possession of Prohibited Weapons if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person “intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells” any of the following weapons:

  1. An explosive or an explosive weapon (e.g., bomb, grenade, dynamite, C-4, etc.);
  2. A device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon;
  3. A machine gun;
  4. A short-barrel rifle or shotgun (e.g., sawed-off shotgun);
  5. A firearm silencer;
  6. A hoax device (e.g., fake bomb);
  7. A switchblade knife or knuckles (e.g., “brass knuckles” or “knucks”); or
  8. Any other “implement” or device fashioned to inflict serious bodily injury or death and that has no common lawful purpose.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1302]

The crime of Possession of Prohibited Weapons should not be confused with the crime of Carrying or Possessing Weapons.

The Penalties

Tennessee law specifies that penalties for a Possession of Prohibited Weapons conviction depend upon the type of weapon that was possessed:

1)    Switchblade, knuckles (“brass knuckles”), or any device not specifically mentioned by this statute that is intended to inflict serious bodily injury or death is a Class A Misdemeanor, and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $2,500; and
  4. Court costs.

 2)    A device for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon, a machine gun, a short-barrel rifle or shotgun (sawed-off shotgun), or a firearm silencer is a Class E Felony, and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of 1 to 6 years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $3,000; and
  4. Court costs.

3)    A hoax device (fake bomb) is a Class C Felony, and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of 3 to 15 years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $10,000; and
  4. Court costs.

4)    An explosive or explosive weapon (bomb, grenade, dynamite, C-4, etc.) is a Class B Felony, and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of 8 to 30 years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $25,000; and
  4. Court costs.

 [Source: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-17-1302, 40-35-111]

In general, Possession of Weapons laws are complex and require that a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney review the facts of each case carefully.

Other Consequences of a Possession of Prohibited Weapons Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties described above, a person convicted of Possession of Prohibited Weapons may also experience serious collateral (other) consequences. A Possession of Prohibited Weapons conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution.  A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment and may result in negative action to a professional license (e.g., nursing).

Except in rare circumstances a conviction for Possession of Prohibited Weapons will ALWAYS stay on a person’s public record (criminal history).  This means that current and future employers may access records of Tennessee criminal convictions.  For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website, http://www.eraseyourrecord.com/index.html.

Why Hire An Attorney Immediately?

It is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve favorable evidence. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible.  Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time.  Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed.  Therefore, it is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest is made.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville criminal defense attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.