What Are the Potential Penalties For Possessing a Gun Without a Permit or Other Weapon In a Car (or Other Motor Vehicle) In Alleged Violation of Connecticut General Statute Section 29-38?

Connecticut law prohibits the carrying of weapons in a motor vehicle. And you should be aware that "weapon" is defined very broadly; please read the exact language of the statute below to see just what constitutes a weapon. If you are convicted of violating this statute, you face a potential jail sentence of up to five years and a $1,000 fine.

Connecticut General Statute Section 29-38 provides as follows:

"(a) Any person who knowingly has, in any vehicle owned, operated or occupied by such person, any weapon, any pistol or revolver for which a proper permit has not been issued as provided in section 29-28 or any machine gun which has not been registered as required by section 53-202, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both, and the presence of any such weapon, pistol or revolver, or machine gun in any vehicle shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section by the owner, operator and each occupant thereof. The word "weapon", as used in this section, means any BB. gun, any blackjack, any metal or brass knuckles, any police baton or nightstick, any dirk knife or switch knife, any knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches in length, any stiletto, any knife the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length, any martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (1) Any officer charged with the preservation of the public peace while engaged in the pursuit of such officer's official duties; (2) any security guard having a baton or nightstick in a vehicle while engaged in the pursuit of such guard's official duties; (3) any person enrolled in and currently attending a martial arts school, with official verification of such enrollment and attendance, or any certified martial arts instructor, having any such martial arts weapon in a vehicle while traveling to or from such school or to or from an authorized event or competition; (4) any person having a BB. gun in a vehicle provided such weapon is unloaded and stored in the trunk of such vehicle or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console; and (5) any person having a knife, the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length, in a vehicle if such person is (A) any member of the armed forces of the United States, as defined in section 27-103, or any reserve component thereof, or of the armed forces of this state, as defined in section 27-2, when on duty or going to or from duty, (B) any member of any military organization when on parade or when going to or from any place of assembly, (C) any person while transporting such knife as merchandise or for display at an authorized gun or knife show, (D) any person while lawfully removing such person's household goods or effects from one place to another, or from one residence to another, (E) any person while actually and peaceably engaged in carrying any such knife from such person's place of abode or business to a place or person where or by whom such knife is to be repaired, or while actually and peaceably returning to such person's place of abode or business with such knife after the same has been repaired, (F) any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license issued pursuant to chapter 490 or any salt water fisherman while having such knife in a vehicle for lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities, or (G) any person participating in an authorized historic reenactment."


(You should also be aware that if the weapon allegedly involved is a pistol or revolver and you did not have a permit, you would also probably be charged with violating Connecticut General Statute Section 29-35, "Carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit prohibited. Exceptions." If you are convicted of violating that statute you face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least one year, and possibly up to five years; and a fine up to $1,000. (Please see the FAQ entitled "What are the penalties for carrying a pistol or revolver on your person or in a car (or any motor vehicle) without a valid gun permit in alleged violation of Connecticut General Statute Section 29-35?" for more information and details.)

If you are accused of violating Connecticut General Statute Section 29-38, you should hire a lawyer. The Connecticut Criminal Defense Law Group of Advocates Law Firm will take all the steps we can to help you protect your rights, your liberty, and your future, including: investigating the legality of the stop that lead to the discovery of the weapon and if appropriate the filing of a motion to suppress the evidence. We could also pursue an application for Accelerated Rehabilitation, pursuant to Connecticut General Staute Section 54-56e, which if granted would mean no conviction, no jail time, and no record.

(Also, please note that if you are accused of violating Section 29-38 and the weapon allegedly involved is a pistol or revolver for which you did not have a permit to carry, then you will also probably be charged with violating Connecticut General Statute Section 29-35, entitled "Carrying of pistol or revolver without a permit prohibited. Exceptions" which carries with it more potential jail time and fines. In fact, Section Connecticut General Statute Section 29-37 provides that the potential penalty for violation Section 29-35 is potenially a mandatory minimum one year in jail. Please see the FAQ on 29-35 for the text and penalties of that statute.)

If you or someone close to you has been accused of violating Connecticut General Statute Section 29-35 or 29-38 or some other Connecticut criminal law, please contact our Connecticut Criminal Defense Law Group to arrange a free and confidential consultation.

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