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May 30, 2013

Difference Between ACA and Unlawful Use of a Firearm

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Did you know there is a difference between armed criminal action (ACA) and the unlawful use of a firearm?
ACA is when a felony was commited and the perpetrator used a firearm (or in Missouri, any dangerous object) to aid in him or her committing the felony.
The main difference between ACA and unlawful use of a firearm is that the weapon is using during a crime.
Examples of unlawful use of a firearm include: discharging a firearm into a house, train, aircraft or motor vehicle (or any other building or structure that is used for gathering people), exhibiting a weapon in an angry or threatening manner around one or more people, negligently handling or using a firearm while intoxicated (unless acting in self-defense), discharing a weapon within a hundred yards of any occupied school, courthouse or church, discharging a firearm across a public highway, carrying a firearm into a church or any federal, state, or political government building, discharging a firearm at or from a motor vehicle, or carrying a firearm (doesn’t matter if it is loaded or not) into a school, a school bus or any other situation whether the activity is sponsored by a school official.
A conviction for ACA carries a minimum of three years incarceration with no chance of parole for those three years. The keyword there is minimum. The judge or jury can assess long sentences for an ACA conviction. We’ve seen cases where people were sentenced to 100 years for the ACA conviction.
Another key to this sentencing is the definition of a dangerous instrument. Any seemingly innocuous item can be turned into a dangerous instrument under the right circumstances. For instance, if you were to rob a bank and you ended up breaking a ceramic plate over the head of a banker, that could trigger ACA because the plate was used as a weapon to aid in committing the crime. It can considered a dangerous instrument if the evidence shows it was knowingly used during the commission of a felony.
For more information on the differences between armed criminal action and unlawful use of a firearm, contact the law offices of Dan Miller today at (816) 875-0470.