Being charged with a gun crime is serious—your entire life could be affected by a conviction. You could be sentenced to jail or prison time, and you could lose your job. Your reputation could be damaged, and it could be difficult for you to get a good job in the future. Even your family is impacted by a conviction.
Although you may be innocent, it’s still important to take the charge seriously and take appropriate action. There are legal defenses available for weapons violations. A Harleysville gun crime lawyer can help you explore your options because hoping for the best is not a defense.
Types of Gun Crimes in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is tough on gun crime, and they have strict laws that must be adhered to or you can face serious penalties. For instance, in Pennsylvania, possession of a gun without a license to carry is a crime. If you possess a weapon during the commission of another crime, penalties go up significantly.
That doesn’t mean that there are no defenses against gun charges, though. Not every weapons charge goes through to conviction because not every person is guilty of the crime. Or, there isn’t always enough evidence to convict a person of a crime.
There are also exceptions to laws, meaning that even though a law is technically broken, you may not be found guilty of it depending on the circumstances. For instance, if you were in possession of a gun during a gun show, you won’t be convicted of possession. If a parent is teaching a child about gun safety, the child is not in violation of the law even though minors aren’t allowed to possess firearms.
Here are some of the top gun crimes in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Statutes, Article G, Chapter 61):
- Possession of a firearm without a license
- Possession of a firearm by a minor
- Illegal sale or transfer of a firearm
- Possession of a firearm with an altered manufacturer’s number
- Selling or transferring a firearm to a minor or other prohibited person
How a Weapons Violation Can Impact Your Life
Sometimes, people don’t know the consequences of a crime until after they have been charged with one. They might have made better decisions had they known how their life would be affected by a conviction. That’s why it’s so important to know the laws and to know your legal options after being charged with a crime.
For example, being convicted of a gun crime in Pennsylvania is serious. That’s because Pennsylvania does not take gun crimes lightly. Even just being in possession of a gun without a license is a violation of the law. If you are convicted of a gun crime, you could face the following negative life effects:
- Jail or Prison – You could spend time in jail or prison depending on the offense as well as whether the weapon was used in the commission of another crime.
- Job Loss – When you’ve been convicted of a gun crime, you could lose your job. A lot of employers won’t hire people with certain types of convictions. It can be extremely difficult to secure employment, which could negatively impact your financial stability.
- Criminal Record – Being convicted of a gun charge will mean you will have a serious criminal record. Not only can this affect your ability to get a job, but you can also struggle to secure decent housing. Some government programs are not offered to those with criminal records.
- Financial Impact – A drug crime conviction can affect your financial stability because you could lose your job or have a tough time finding one. You will also be ordered to pay fines.
- Reputation – Some people’s reputation is very important to them. A poor reputation could impact your personal relationships. In some communities, reputation could cause social stigma.
- Loss of Rights – When you are convicted of a crime, sometimes you lose some of your rights. For instance, you could lose the right to vote as well as your freedom. If you are placed on probation or parole, you can lose the right to your privacy (you can be searched without a warrant and your home entered without notice).
Legal Defenses for Gun Crimes in Harleysville
There are a lot of negative effects of being convicted of a gun crime in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t mean you should not explore your options. Not every person charged with a gun crime is convicted of the offense. Defenses are out there, and a gun crime attorney can help you determine the best path for you.
Here are some of the defenses that can be used in gun crime cases:
- Innocence or Wrongly Accused – If you simply did not do what you’re being accused of, you can use the innocence defense.
- Mistaken Identity – When someone falsely identifies you, you can use this defense.
- Good Faith – Maybe you did something technically illegal, but you were operating in good faith. For instance, you take away a gun from a criminal and are in possession of the weapon without a license. It can be proved that you had good cause for possessing the weapon.
- Illegal Search and Seizure – When the police violate your rights, your charges may not go through.
- Not Enough Evidence to Convict – If there is not enough evidence to convict you, the prosecutor could drop the case or you could win during a trial.
Contact McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Today
If you, or someone you love, have been charged with a weapons violation, you may be worried about the future and wondering what action to take next. It’s true that gun crime convictions can seriously impact your life, so it’s important to give a gun charge the attention it deserves.
You don’t have to face charges without legal representation. Everyone who has been charged with a crime has the right to an attorney. A Harleysville, PA gun crime lawyer can look at your case to help you figure out your legal options. Contact McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule your free case evaluation.