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Dangerous Article on Airport (VA)

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I travel between Dulles Intl. and Orlando Intl. airport every week for work. I am a computer programmer. I have a pistol (unloaded) that I normally carry in my locked briefcase and take out of my briefcase when in my Motel room. I then put the pistol back in the locked briefcase which stays in my vehicle in the airport parking lot. Well... I transferred the pistol to my duffel bag like I normally do while in the motel room... but FORGOT to put it back into my locked briefcase before heading to the Dulles Intl. airport to fly home. When going through the X-Ray machine I was asked it that was a toy gun in my bag and I said "oh damn.. no it is real"

I was presented a Virginia Uniform Summons to appear in court. The description of charge is "Dangerous article on airport".

The officer was aware that this was a huge mistake and was not intentional. Even though this was an honest mistake it is obviously serious. Apparently it is the highest level misdemeanor according to the police officer.

I have absolutely no other police record... not even a speeding ticket that I can remember in the last 10 years. This was an honest mistake.

I live in Orlando and will need to make a special flight for my court date. Will everything be taken care of on this court date or will I neet to fly back again?

My wife and I discussed whether I should hire an attorney. We are living on the edge financially like many americans and we feel that I should just represent myself and tell the truth and put my future in the magistrate's hands.

Any help and or sugesstions would be greatly appreciated.



I am a law school graduate. WHat I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.

I am pretty sure you need to prove you didn't have the mental state to commit this crime: i.e. uninentional. Showing your pattern of work and how you transfer said gun in a routine fashion will show this was merely an oversight -- you were tired, etc.

Look for the specific statute in this section:

It might be a good idea to "consult" with an attorney anyway. It will be less expensive then having this person represent you and it will give you the legal arguments you need. Attorneys serve in all sorts of capacities: from letter writers to court litigators to researchers.

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