Weapons Offences

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. Courts endorse a very broad definition of the word "weapon", allowing it to encompass anything from a knife or baseball bat to a chair or pencil. Firearms are also included within the definition of a weapon.

A "firearm" is defined as a barrelled weapon capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other projectile which is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person.

Release on Bail: Weapon offences, namely those involving firearms, are treated extremely seriously and often carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence. Furthermore, committing an offence involving dangerous weapons will hinder your chances of being released on bail. Daniel Freudman is able to effectively negotiate with Crown Attorneys and develop a Plan of Supervision to enhance your chances of being released from custody while awaiting your trial.

Charter issues: Often in weapons offences, the discovery or seizure of the weapon in question raises issues surrounding infringements of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The most prevalent of which involves violations of your right to be secure against arbitrary detention and unreasonable search and seizure. Toronto weapons offences lawyer Daniel Freudman is able to effectively raise these issues to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and that you receive the best possible defence.

Use of Firearms [C.C. ss 85, 86, 87]

The Criminal Code makes it an offence to engage in the following acts-

(1) Use a firearm in the commission of an offence

(2) Use an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence

(3) Carelessly use or store a firearm

(4) Point a firearm at another person

Possession of Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose [C.C. s 88]

It is an offence to carry or possess a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.

Potential penalty upon conviction:

(i) if Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum of 10 years jail

(ii) if Crown proceeds summarily: maximum of 6 months jail

Carrying a Concealed Weapon [C.C. s 90]

It is an offence to carry a weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition concealed, unless the person is authorized under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed.

Potential penalty upon conviction:

(i) if Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum of 5 years jail

(ii) if Crown proceeds summarily: maximum of 6 months jail

Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm [C.C. s 91(1)]

(subject to section certain exceptions) It is an offence to possess a firearm without being the holder of

(a) 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.

Potential penalty upon conviction:

(i) if Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum of 5 years jail

(ii) if Crown proceeds summarily: maximum of 6 months jail

Unauthorized Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Weapon [C.C. s 91(2)]

(subject to section certain exceptions) It is an offence to possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device (other than a replica firearm), or any prohibited ammunition, without being the holder of a license allowing such possession.

Potential penalty upon conviction:

(i) if Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum of 5 years jail

(ii) if Crown proceeds summarily: maximum of 6 months jail

Note: There have been some revisions to the penalties for certain firearms offences, on account of recent mandatory minimum sentence legislation

Definitions [C.C. s 84(1)]

"Ammunition": a cartridge containing a projectile designed to be discharged from a firearm and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a caseless cartridge and a shot shell.

"Handgun": a firearm that is designed, altered or intended to be aimed and fired by the action of one hand, whether or not it has been redesigned or subsequently altered to be aimed and fired by the action of both hands.

"Prohibited device": any component or part of a weapon, or any accessory for use with a weapon, that is prescribed to be a prohibited device, including but not limited to silencers, replica firearms, and handguns with a barrel length shorter than 105 mm.

"Prohibited firearm": any firearm that is prescribed to be a prohibited firearm, including but not limited to fully-automatic guns (whether or not it has been altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger), shotguns or rifles sawed-off or altered to have a total length less than 660 mm and/or a barrel length less than 457 mm, .25 or .31 calibre handguns, handguns with a barrel length shorter than 105 mm.

"Prohibited weapon": a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife (i.e. a switchblade or butterfly knife), or any weapon other than a firearm that is prescribed to be a prohibited weapon, such as a taser.

"Restricted firearm": a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm; a firearm that is not prohibited and that has a barrel less than 470 mm in length and is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner; a firearm designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise; a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm.

"Restricted weapon": any weapon, other than a firearm, that is prescribed to be a restricted weapon.

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