Delaware is strict on offenses involving weapons. Carrying a knife or anything that can be used as a weapon concealed can result in a conviction. If you or your child are facing a first offense for a weapons crime you must fight to keep your criminal record clean. Many of these of these crimes are felonies or carry a violent connotation when an employer does a background check. If you have prior convictions you may be facing jail time. The following is a discussion of the various weapons crimes and penalties in the State of Delaware.
- Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon
- Carrying a Concealed Dangerous Instrument
- Unlawfully Dealing With a Dangerous Weapon
- Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony
- Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
- Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited
- Possession of a Weapon in a Safe School or Recreation Zone
In Delaware it is illegal to carry a deadly weapon concealed. A deadly weapon could be a gun, a knife bigger than a pocketknife, or any instrument which is used to cause death or serious physical injury. Openly carrying a deadly weapon is not illegal. In firearms cases, if you have a license to carry a firearm it is a complete defense to this crime. Carrying a concealed deadly weapon is a class G felony. The sentencing manual calls for a sentence of up to 12 months in jail. If the deadly weapon is a firearm this crime becomes a class D felony and for a first offense you face up to two years in jail. If the crime occurs in a safe school and recreation zone, it becomes a class F non-violent felony. If the defendant is a student, the defendant will be expelled for a minimum of 180 days if convicted.
It is illegal in Delaware to carry a dangerous instrument concealed. A dangerous instrument is something that you used or threatened to use that can cause death or serious physical injury. The precise definition of this crime can be found in the Delaware Criminal Code at 11 Del.C. §1443. An example of carrying a concealed dangerous instrument would be pulling out a hammer from under your coat and hitting someon with it. Carrying a Concealed Dangerous Instrument is a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for this crime one year in jail and up to a $2300 fine. The sentencing guideline calls for up to a year probation.
In Delaware, you can be guilty of unlawfully dealing with a dangerous weapon if you:
- have an air gun or BB gun that shoots anything bigger than a BB;
- give a BB gun to a kid under 16 without parental permission;
- let a child under 16 to have a firearm or BB gun without supervision;
- sell or give ammo to a minor under 18 without permission of the parent; (class G felony)
- sell or transfer a firearm to someone knowing they are going to commit a felony, class A misdemeanor or a drug offense. (class E felony)
The first three sections of this crime are unclassified misdemeanors. The recommended sentence would be a fine. If you commit a class G felony the recommended sentence is up to six months in jail. If you commit a class E felony the recommended sentence is up to 15 months in jail. The crime can be found in the Delaware Criminal Code at 11 Del.C. §1445.
Possessing a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, namely a firearm or knife, is a class B felony. A person is in possession only if the deadly weapon is physically available and accessible during the commission of the felony. Also, a defendant can be convicted as an accomplice if his co-defendant possessed the weapon during the commission of the felony. The presumptive sentence for this crime is 2-5 years in jail. The sentence may not be served concurrently with the underlying felony. In other words the sentence on this crime will not start until you are finished your sentence on the felony. Any sentence imposed will not be subject to suspension, good time, or parole. Juveniles shall be tried as an adult with reverse amenability (argue to send the case back to Family Court) available.
If a person possesses a firearm during the commission of a felony in Delaware they are guilty of a class B felony. This crime carries a mandatory three year jail sentence. If the conviction represents a third felony conviction there is a five year mandatory jail sentence. Any sentence imposed will not be suspended or given good time credit. Juveniles under over 15 will be tried as an adult with reverse amenability available.
In Delaware, you are a person prohibited from carrying a deadly weapon or ammunition if:
- you were convicted of a felony or crime of violence involving physical injury ;
- you were committed to a mental institution;
- you were convicted of possessing a controlled substance;
- you are subject to a protection from abuse order;
- you were convicted of a crime of domestic violence;
- you are a juvenile and carrying a handgun;
- the deadly weapon is a semi-automatic or automatic firearm and at the same time you are in possession of a controlled substance.
You can be convicted if you fall into one of the above categories and you purchase, own, possess or control a deadly weapon. If the crime you were convicted of is a misdemeanor, this prohibition only lasts five years from the date of conviction. Again, a deadly weapon basically includes a firearm, a knife bigger that a pocket knife, or any instrument which can be used to cause serious physical injury. This crime is a class F felony. If the weapon is a firearm it is a class D felony. If the weapon is a firearm and you have been previously convicted of a felony, there is a three year mandatory sentence. There is a five year mandatory if you commit this crime within 10 years of committing a previous violent felony. If you have two prior violent felonies, the mandatory is 10 years. If you are a juvenile 14 years or older and you are adjudicated delinquent of possessing or purchasing firearm there is a mandatory minimum of six months jail. For the precise penalties refer to 11 Del.C. §1448.
If you commit any of the following offenses in a safe school or recreation zone, you may be guilty of this crime:
- carrying a concealed deadly weapon (class G & D felony)
- possession of a destructive weapon (class E felony)
- unlawful dealing with a switchblade (unclassified misdemeanor)
- possession of deadly weapons by person prohibited (class F felony)
- unlawful dealing with knuckles-combination knife (class B misd)
- unlawful dealing with martial arts throwing stars; or (class B misd)
- you are a juvenile who possesses a firearm or deadly weapon while in a safe school zone.
If you are a juvenile and adjudicated of this crime you will be suspended from school for a minimum of 180 days. The definition of this crime can be found at 11 Del.C. §1457. For the various penalties of this crime refer to Sentac Benchbook on Sentencing.
Contact Jason Antoine, Weapons Defense Lawyer for a free and confidential consultation at (302) 482-4802 if you or a loved one is charged with a weapons offense in Delaware. In addition to the crimes listed above, my office is prepared to handle all weapons offenses in Delaware including but not limited to:
- Possession of a Destructive Weapon (class E felony)
- Unlawfully Dealing with a Dangerous Weapon (unclassified misdemeanor)
- Unlawfully Dealing with a Switchblade (unclassified misdemeanor)
- Wearing Body Armor During Commission of a Felony (class B felony)
- Receiving and Theft of a Stolen Firearm (class F felony)
- Possession, Selling or Dealing with Knuckles or Martial Arts Throwing Star (class B misdemeanor)
- Giving a Firearm to a Person Prohibited (class F felony)
- Engaging in Firearms Transactions on Behalf of Another (class F felony)
- Unlawfully Permitting a Minor Access to a Firearm (class A misdemeanor)
- Undetectable Knives (class G felony)
- Possession of a Weapon with a Removed Obliterated or Altered Serial Number (class D felony)
- Possession of a Firearm While Under the Influence (class A misdemeanor)