Toronto Firearm Crimes Lawyer
The Firearms Act and Canada’s Criminal Code govern firearms and weapons offences. This area of the law is complex, with a staggering assortment of regulations. The difficulty and complexities of understanding the law in this area is increasing, resulting in a great deal of misunderstanding among those attempting to follow the law.
Although most individuals usually picture a firearm when they hear the term weapon, its legal definition is far broader. A weapon can be anything that is used, designed, or intended to be used to kill or injure another person, or anything that is used to threaten another person. A firearm is a specific type of weapon with a barrel that may shoot a projectile capable of causing significant bodily injury. At Karapancev Law, we have experience defending individuals charges with gun and weapon offences in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and throughout Ontario.
Some examples of Firearm offences include:
- Unsafe Storage of a Firearm
- Possession of Unauthorized Firearm
- Using of Firearm in Commission of an Offence
- Careless Use of a Firearm
- Possession of a Restricted or Prohibited Firearm
- Weapons Trafficking
- Possessing of a Weapon Contrary to an Order
- Discharging a Firearm
- Pointing a Firearm
- Possessing of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
Ramifications for Firearm Owners
If you are prosecuted for a weapons offence in Toronto, you should expect serious repercussions. A conviction for any of these offences can have serious implications for a gun owner, including a criminal record, confiscation of firearms, and restriction from owning firearms in the future. Furthermore, many gun offences now have mandatory minimum terms ranging from one year to five years in prison for a first offence. A criminal conviction can also result in the loss of job possibilities, travel limitations, and the psychological and emotional stigma of being labelled as a “criminal.”
Carless Use of a Firearm
Section 86 of the Criminal Code states that anyone who, without lawful excuse, carries, handles, ships, uses, transports, or stores a firearm, restricted weapon, prohibited device, prohibited weapon, or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner, or without taking reasonable precautions for the safety of other people, is committing an offence.
Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm
Possessing a restricted or prohibited firearm that is either loaded or has easily accessible ammunition is illegal under section 95 of the Criminal Code, unless the person obtains an authorization or license. Any pistol with a barrel length equal to or less than 105mm, as well as any firearm modified from a rifle or shotgun by cutting the barrel length to less than 660mm, is considered a “prohibited” firearm. Automatic weapons are among the prohibited firearms. Any handgun that is not legally considered a prohibited firearm has a barrel length of less than 470mm, and can shoot center-fire ammunition semi-automatically qualifies as a “restricted” firearm. A person must get a Firearms Act permit to possess any prohibited or restricted firearm anywhere in Canada.
The prosecution may file an indictment and seek a term of up to ten years in prison if the defendant is found guilty. The Crown may also choose to prosecute summarily, which carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison. The Crown will typically proceed by indictment if they believes the offence has a true “criminal purpose” associated with possessing the prohibited or restricted weapon.
Some of these offences begin at the border between the United States and Canada, with an American tourist who is unaware of how drastically different Canadian guns laws are from those in the United States. While a citizen of the USA may have the right to carry a weapon in the United States, doing so in Canada is criminal with serious repercussions. Authorities may also discover a person in possession of illicit firearms in other circumstances. These include searches of vehicles, houses, and other locations, both with and without a search warrant.
As a seasoned Toronto criminal law firm, we realize that customs authorities and police must prove that our client had knowledge of and control over the illegal handgun in order to prove the crime. It’s critical for a suspect in a firearms investigation to understand that they have the right to remain silent if they are arrested or detained. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects this freedom.
Discharging a Firearm
The Criminal Code specifies a number of offences that can arise when a firearm is discharged. These include:
- Discharging a firearm with the intent to wound, maim, disfigure, endanger a person’s life, or prevent a person’s arrest;
- Discharging a firearm recklessly.
Discharging a firearm can occur by accident, and it can happen to anyone – even the most careful of persons. A successful defence is nevertheless feasible in circumstances when there was no overt accident. The Crown must show that you discharged the handgun either recklessly or with specific intent. You may be able to overcome these obstacles by testifying to your state of mind or the specific steps you took to ensure you were handling your handgun appropriately. Whatever the case may be, we will pursue every possible defence strategy.
Possessing a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
A weapon is defined as “anything used, designed to be used, or intended for use in causing death or injury to any person” or “for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person” under Section 2 of the Criminal Code. As a result, weapons include conspicuous items such as rifles and knives. A knife, a hammer, or even a potted plant or a pencil may be considered “weapons,” depending on the environment in which they are possessed.
Carrying or possessing a weapon or its imitation for the purpose of committing an offence or for the purpose that is dangerous to the public peace is prohibited under section 88 of the Code. The intent for which the accused person has the weapon is a critical element of this crime. The Crown must show that the accused’s intent in possessing the weapon was to use it in a dangerous manner. In order to determine whether the accused possessed the weapon for a purpose that is dangerous to the public peace, the court must consider all of the surrounding circumstances.
Possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose can be prosecuted as either an indictable offence, carrying a potential sentence of ten years in prison, or as a summary offence, carrying a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
The actual use of a weapon is not a requirement of this crime. The Crown merely needs to show that the weapon was possessed with the intent to endanger the public. As a result, authorities must discover the reason for the accused’s possession of the firearm. The complainant(s) and any witnesses will almost certainly be interviewed by the investigating officer. Police will likely try to get an explanation from their suspect as well. They will try to corroborate the accusation by getting the suspect to confirm they had the purported “weapon” and that their intent was to endanger someone. This is where we, as an experienced criminal defence firm, can assist our clients by advising them on their Charter rights, particularly their right to remain silent.
Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
When it comes to unauthorised firearm possession, Section 91 of the Criminal Code stipulates that anyone who possesses a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, or a non-restricted firearm commits an offence, unless:
a. they have a license under which the person may possess it; and
b. in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.
Defending Firearm Offences
Fighting firearms charges successfully necessitates close attention to the factual and legal nuances of each case. Through procedural errors or abuses of authority, the police may have also infringed on your constitutional rights. Our criminal defence firm is skilled at navigating multiple layers of complexity.
When defending your case, we will look into details such as:
- Were you in lawful possession of a firearm when you were arrested?
- Were you using the weapon to defend yourself?
- Did the police make an unauthorised stop, search, or seizure?
Many crimes involving the possession and use of weapons are included in the Canadian Criminal Code. A guilty conviction has a number of consequences, including a permanent criminal record, difficulty travelling internationally, and the possibility of incarceration. Even police and judicial authorities, however, do not always have a complete understanding of the complexities of gun and weapon accusations.
Our law firm focuses solely on criminal law. As such, we are well-versed in all aspects of criminal law. Hundreds of people in Toronto, Mississauga, Newmarket. and all across Ontario have benefited from our services. We can give you with a solid, well-prepared defence against any firearms accusation.
Some of Our Past Results
R. v. A.W.: The client was charged with firearms possession-related charges as a gun was located in a vehicle he was occupying. The matter was set for a week-long trial in Newmarket, and through ongoing discussions with the Crown, the defence persuaded them that they could not prove the offence. All charges were withdrawn.
R. v. K.R.: The Client was charged with multiple firearms-related offences. He and his co-defendant were accused of robbing the complainant with a gun and stabbing him. The defence asserted that this was an instance of mistaken identity. The Crown withdrew all charges on the first day of the preliminary inquiry.
R. v. D.D.: The client in Toronto was charged with Careless Storage of a Firearm and Possessing a Firearm, knowing it’s unauthorized. All charges were withdrawn.
R. v. A.M.: The client was arrested for serious robbery with firearm charges and forcible confinement. The allegations were that the client robbed the victim at gunpoint, and the matter was scheduled for a week-long preliminary hearing in Toronto. At the preliminary hearing, the client was discharged on all counts.
R. v. F.A.: The client was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. The gun and ammunition were allegedly discovered following a search warrant in the client’s bedroom. Given triable issues that became apparent, the defence convinced the Crown during negotiations that they did not have a reasonable prospect of conviction. All charges were withdrawn.
Disclaimer: Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. Every case is unique.