PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Pager: (302) 247-1132
Date: July 15, 2005
WEAPONS POSSESSION BY FUGITIVE BILL
(Wilmington, DE): Attorney General Jane Brady announces that pursuant to the passage of House Bill 148 and upon the signature of the Governor on June 30th, it is now illegal for a fugitive to possess a deadly weapon in the State of Delaware. House Bill 148, sponsored by Representative Nancy Wagner and Senator James Vaughn, was a key piece of the Attorney General's 2005 legislative agenda.
"This bill targets two significant issues - people who are fugitives from justice and therefore dangerous and criminals who are carrying firearms," said Attorney General M. Jane Brady. "All too often the combination is lethal and I am pleased the police have this additional tool to bring criminals to justice."
The Act amends the current law relating to the possession of deadly weapons and ammunition by persons prohibited. Any defendant in a felony-level criminal case who becomes a fugitive from justice by failing to appear for a scheduled court proceeding regarding the felony case, for which proper notice was provided or attempted, is deemed to be a person prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon while a fugitive.
Wilmington Police Chief Michael Szczerba said, "This bill is an important piece of legislation. People with Superior Court capiases are a definite flight risk. They will avail themselves of weapons and will not hesitate to use them against police officers."
Persons who violate this new provision of the law are punished like other persons prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon. If the weapon is not a firearm, the crime is a Class F felony with a possible sentence of 0-3 years of incarceration attached. If the weapon is a firearm or ammunition for a firearm, the crime is a Class D felony which is punishable by a period of 0-8 years of incarceration. Mandatory minimum sentences apply if the person has a prior violent felony conviction.