Carrying a Dangerous Weapon While Committing a Crime of Violence

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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It is unlawful for a person to commit or attempt to commit a crime of violence while armed with or having available any firearm, explosive substance, noxious liquid, gas or substance or acid.  This is because the law recognizes that crimes of violence become all the more violent and threatening to society when committed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon. 

Under Rhode Island criminal law, Carrying a Dangerous Weapon while Committing a Crime of Violence may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-3.

Legal Elements of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon while Committing a Crime of Violence

In order to be convicted of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon while Committing a Crime of Violence under Rhode Island criminal law, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant commit the crime of violence in question
  2. the defendant did so while armed with or having immediately available to him, a firearm, or explosive substance, or noxious liquid gas or substance, or an acid

Under Rhode Island criminal law there is a rebuttable presumption that when a person is on trial for committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence and was armed with a firearm, that it was his her intention to commit the crime of violence.  This presumption may be rebutted or refuted by the Defense at trial and may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-4.

What is a Crime of Violence for Purposes of this Offense

Rhode Island criminal law defines a “crime of violence” as the commission or attempted commission of any of the following crimes: murder, manslaughter, rape, first or second degree sexual assault, first or second degree child  molestation, kidnapping,· first and second degree arson, mayhem, robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, any felony violation involving the illegal manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance or conspiracy to commit any violation of these statutes, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault or battery involving grave bodily injury, and/or assault with intent to commit any offense punishable as a felony; upon any conviction of an offense punishable as a domestic violence felony under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 12-29-5. This definition may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-2.

Potential Punishment if Convicted of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon while Committing a Crime of Violence in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for Carrying a Dangerous Weapon while Committing a Crime of Violence is a felony and the defendant shall be sentenced to a term in prison of not less than 3 years nor more than 10 years. This penalty may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-3.

Should the defendant commit the crime of violence while armed with or having available a stolen firearm, a sentence may be imposed for not less than 5 years nor more than 15 years.  This sentence will run consecutive to the sentence imposed for the underlying crime of violence.   This penalty may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-3.1.

It should also be noted that Possession of a Stolen Firearm, with the knowledge that the firearm is stolen, is punishable by not less than 3 years nor more than 15 years in prison.  This penalty may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-5.2.

Furthermore, if the defendant used a firearm while committing or attempting to commit the crime of violence, a term of imprisonment for 10 years will be imposed. This sentence shall run consecutively to any sentence imposed for the underlying crime of violence.  This penalty may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-3.2(a).

If there was an actual discharge of the firearm during the commission of the crime of violence and no injury results, a sentence of 10 years will be imposed.  If an injury results from the discharge, a sentence of 20 years will be imposed and if the death of a police officer or another person occurs, a sentence of life in prison will be imposed. These sentences also shall run consecutively to the imposed sentence for the underlying crime of violence. These penalties may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-3.2(b)(1)-(4).


If you have been charged with carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a crime and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Gun Defense Attorneys of the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.