With the new Virginia school year beginning, there are more pressing concerns than what classes the students are going to take, their grades, and who their teachers are. The world has become significantly more dangerous with the unfortunate occurrence of school violence happening more and more frequently. In some circumstances, a student might make the conscious decision or the mistake of going to school with a weapon.
It is important to understand the law regarding weapons in school and what to do when charged with juvenile crimes related to this. Most weapons are not allowed on school property. These include many kinds of knives, guns, combustible materials and other dangerous objects.
In certain instances, a person may be able to take weapons onto school grounds. For example, if the object is a part of a school-related activity and the curriculum, or if a knife will be used in the preparation of food. In addition, a weapon may be permissible on school grounds if it is part of a program that the school has organized and that program is on or off the premises. Furthermore, if the person has a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun and it is possessed in the school parking lot, it is legal.
The charge of possessing a weapon other than a firearm on school property is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Possessing firearms, trying to use the firearm or threatening others with it will result in a Class 6 felony. The results of a conviction for a Class 6 felony can include a minimum of five years in jail to be served consecutively with other penalties. However, in the juvenile law system, the penalties might be different than an adult’s.
When facing charges for bringing a weapon to school, it is imperative that parents get legal advice for their child to formulate a strong defense.
Source: Virginia Rules, “Weapons Offenses,” accessed on Sept. 13, 2015