Weapons violations in Pennsylvania are no joking matter, and you could face serious consequences if convicted of a gun offense. Your entire life could be impacted. From jail time and hefty fines to loss of your rights and a hit to your reputation, conviction of a gun crime can do some damage.
If you have been charged with a gun crime in Berks County, PA, it might be time to seek legal help. A Berks County, PA gun crime lawyer can look into your charges and situation to see what options are available to you. There are defenses against gun charges. You don’t have to give up without a fight.
Types of Gun Crimes in Pennsylvania
Firearms are dangerous weapons, and they should be taken seriously. Anyone who possesses firearms should know the laws, so they don’t unknowingly violate them and get charged with a crime. Even when you have been charged with a crime, the situation is not hopeless.
Remember that a gun crime lawyer can examine your case to help you understand your legal options. The following is a list of some of the gun crimes in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Statutes, Article G, Chapter 61):
Possession of a Gun
Being in possession of a firearm without having a valid license to carry is a crime in Pennsylvania. If you are in possession of a firearm during the commission of another offense, such as burglary, robbery, or assault, penalties for this crime increase significantly.
It is illegal to be in possession of a firearm as a minor with some exceptions for lawful behavior, such as lawful hunting, training, etc.
Illegal Sale or Transfer of a Firearm
There are laws regarding how to properly sell and transfer a firearm to a new owner. You can be charged with an offense if you fail to follow the law when disposing of a firearm. It’s also illegal to transfer or sell a gun to a minor. There are also laws that regulate retail sales of firearms.
Possession of Firearm with Altered Manufacturer’s Number
It’s illegal in Pennsylvania to be in possession of a firearm that has been altered, meaning the identifying number has been removed.
In addition to the above gun crimes, other crimes can become more serious if they are committed while in possession of a gun. Penalties greatly increase when a gun is involved in drug sells, robbery, attempted murder, arson, aggravated assault, burglary, rape, etc.
Defenses Against Gun Charges in Berks County
People can be charged with crimes they didn’t commit; sometimes, a person accidentally commits a crime but was operating in good faith; a person could be charged with a crime but not get convicted for various reasons.
There are defenses against gun charges in Pennsylvania. Legal help is out there, so you can have your case examined and get questions answered.
Some defenses against gun charges include:
- Innocence – You can be accused of a crime you didn’t commit, and you can use your innocence as a defense. For instance, if someone accuses you of being in possession of a gun but it was a toy gun, you could prove your innocence. It’s important to collect evidence that shows you did not commit the crime.
- Unknowing Possession – There are incidents where you could be in possession of a gun without your knowledge. For instance, if a friend borrowed your car and then accidentally left a gun behind, you could be charged with a crime when the gun is found in your possession.
- Mistaken Identity – Sometimes, people are accused of crimes because they look like someone else or because they have a similar name. This could be a situation where you are charged with a crime because of mistaken identity.
- Illegal Search and Seizure – A gun crime could be dismissed if the police were not following proper search and seizure procedures. For example, if they search your home without permission and without a valid warrant, that would be a violation of search and seizure laws.
- Not Enough Evidence to Convict – It’s possible to have a case get dismissed because there’s not enough evidence against you.
A gun crime attorney can inspect your case to help you understand your defense options.
How Can a Gun Charge Impact Your Life?
Some people who are charged with a gun crime don’t understand just how serious the charge is. They may not even know the penalties associated with a crime before they commit one, whether intentionally or not. The consequences of a conviction for some types of gun crimes are severe.
For instance, if you’re convicted of gun possession in correlation with a drug charge, there is an automatic minimum sentence of five years in prison if convicted. This means that the judge in your case doesn’t even have the option to reduce your imprisonment.
In addition to jail or prison time, you could face other serious negative effects. For instance, a gun conviction can result in you losing your job. Job loss affects your financial stability, which could cause other problems in your life, as you may not be able to pay your bills or rent, buy food, and more.
A weapons violation could make it hard for you to secure employment in the future and your reputation could be negatively impacted. Even your relationships can be damaged by a gun charge as friends and family may not trust you. Plus, your conviction could negatively impact their lives as well.
Gun crimes are serious and should be taken seriously. But legal help is available.
Get Legal Assistance with Your Berks County, PA Gun Crime Case
Being charged with any crime is scary, but a gun charge can be especially upsetting because it could come with severe penalties. It’s important to take the charge seriously, but you should know that you have options. A gun crime lawyer in Berks County, PA can look at your case to help you determine your defense options.
At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we’ve helped clients just like you who’ve been charged with serious crimes that could impact their lives in many negative ways. View testimonials here to understand how we can help you. Call for a case consultation today!