The phrase weapons charges encompass many criminal violations, including assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a previous offender (POWPO), charges involving concealed weapons, and even some drug crimes where a weapon may have been involved or even merely present.

If a gun or other weapon was involved in the case, the consequences of the crime are increased dramatically. One example is Colorado’s Special Offender law, which provides that when a drug offense is committed and a deadly weapon also is present on the defendant’s person or within his immediate reach during the commission of said drug offense, or when the defendant or his confederate possess a firearm either to which they had access to that firearm in a manner posing a risk to others or simply is present in a vehicle during the commission of a drug offense, then special offender charges can be brought against said defendant. Special offender charges constitute a class 2 felony, and thus are a very serious matter.

Even if a crime is not being committed, possession of a deadly weapon by a prior offender also is a very serious offense. A person commits the crime of POWPO when they knowingly use, possess, or carry upon his or her person a firearm, subsequent to their conviction for a felony, in any state, including Colorado. These charges are serious and can be brought alongside charges such as robbery or drug charges. One possible defense to a POWPO charge is possession of a firearm at the defendant’s home for purposes of self-defense.