ARS 13-3102 covers everything you need to know about misconduct involving weapons in Arizona, including what circumstances qualify for the charges, possible exemptions, and whether the action warrants a misdemeanor or felony charge. 

Unfortunately, the statute can be pretty tough to understand with so many itemized examples, exemptions, and prescribed penalties.

To help you better understand the criminal charge of misconduct involving weapons in Arizona, we’ve put together a quick guide that translates ARS 13-3102 into easy-to-understand terms. This guide covers the following topics:

  • What does misconduct involving weapons mean?
  • Notable exceptions
  • Penalties for misconduct involving weapons
  • Possible defenses against misconduct involving weapons
  • What to do if you’re facing charges for misconduct involving weapons

ARS 13-3102 – Misconduct Involving Weapons

Under ARS 13-3102, an individual may be charged with misconduct involving weapons by knowingly taking any of the following actions:

  1. Carrying a deadly weapon if you’re under 21
  2. Carrying a deadly weapon and failing to accurately answer when a law enforcement officer asks if you’re carrying a concealed deadly weapon
  3. Entering a public establishment or event while carrying a deadly weapon after a reasonable request to remove the weapon and place it in temporary and secure storage
  4. Entering an election polling place on the day of any election carrying a deadly weapon
  5. Possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds
  6. Carrying a deadly weapon in connection with a felony offense, serious offense, or violent crime
  7. Transferring or selling a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor
  8. Defacing a deadly weapon, or knowingly possessing a defaced deadly weapon
  9. Manufacturing, transferring, selling, transporting, or possessing a prohibited weapon
  10. Possessing a deadly or prohibited weapon if you’re a prohibited possessor
  11. Possessing or using a deadly weapon during the commission of a drug offense
  12. Entering a hydroelectric or nuclear generating station carrying a deadly weapon on your person or within your immediate control
  13. Discharging a firearm at an occupied structure to promote, assist, or further the interests of a criminal syndicate, street gang, or racketeering enterprise
  14. Selling, supplying, or giving control or possession of a firearm to another person knowing (or having reason to know) the person will use the firearm in the commission of a felony
  15. Trafficking in weapons and explosives for financial gain in order to promote, assist, or further the interests of a criminal syndicate, street gang, or racketeering enterprise
  16. Possessing, using, or exercising control over a deadly weapon in the furtherance of any act of terrorism or knowing the weapon will be used to facilitate an act of terrorism

Note that for the purpose of this criminal charge, “carrying a deadly weapon” includes concealing a weapon on your person, having a weapon within your immediate control, or storing a deadly weapon in a means of transportation (i.e. in your car). That means you can technically be charged with misconduct involving weapons even if the weapon in question isn’t actually in your hand or on your person.

Notable exceptions

The definition of “deadly weapons” is fairly broad, though for the purpose of ARS 13-3102 it does not include pocket knives. The law also excludes dry ice, unless the dry ice is intended to cause personal injury, death, or property damage to another person. 

Furthermore, Arizona’s bans on deadly weapons are lifted for individuals who are specifically authorized to carry, store, or transport a deadly weapon. For a full list of exempt situations, see subsections B through J of ARS 13-3102.

Penalties for Misconduct Involving Weapons

Unlike many criminal laws with cut-and-dry penalties, the criminal charge of misconduct involving weapons carries a wide range of possible penalties from class 3 misdemeanors to class 2 felonies. Here’s a breakdown of how the penalties are applied based on the criminal actions listed under What does misconduct involving weapons mean:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor: scenario 1
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: scenarios 2 – 5
  • Class 6 felony: scenarios 5 – 8
  • Class 4 felony: scenarios 9 – 12
  • Class 3 felony: scenarios 13 – 15
  • Class 2 felony: scenario 16

Note that scenario 5 may be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking, possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds is a class 1 misdemeanor unless it’s connected to a criminal syndicate, illegal control of an enterprise, or a drug offense, in which case it becomes a class 6 felony.

Possible Defenses for Misconduct Involving Weapons

As with any criminal case, you can always present a defense that your constitutional rights were infringed during or immediately after being arrested. For example, if the arresting officer failed to read your Miranda rights, any information you provided during the interrogation — including a confession — may be deemed inadmissible in court. 

Similarly, if evidence was obtained illegally without a valid warrant, that evidence may be thrown out by the judge. Without sufficient evidence against you, the prosecutor may elect to then drop the charges against you entirely.

That said, when it comes to charges of misconduct involving weapons, the most effective defense may be to argue that you qualify for an exemption under ARS 13-3102 subsections B through J. 

ARS 13-3102 Subsections B Through J

For example, subsection B provides exceptions for minors when the deadly weapon is stored in a parent, grandparent, or guardian’s home, business, or property. Minors are also allowed to carry a deadly weapon when a portion of the firearm or holster is visible (i.e. open carry).

Another example would be American citizens who are specifically licensed, authorized, or permitted to carry a deadly weapon pursuant to a state or federal statute. There are still some public locations, like schools, where deadly weapons are restricted to law enforcement officials, but generally speaking, a proper license such as a concealed-carry permit will keep you out of trouble as long as you properly respond to law enforcement when asked if you’re carrying a weapon.

Given the complexities of this particular law, you’ll definitely want to consult your case with an attorney if you believe you may qualify for an exception under ARS 13-3102 subsections B through J.

What to So if You’re Facing Charges

Anytime you’re facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you consult your case with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you’re arrested, you have the right to an attorney and you should exercise that right immediately. Don’t provide the police with anything other than your identifying information until your lawyer is present.

 

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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