Philadelphia Firearm Possession
Firearm Possession is one of the most serious criminal charges in Pennsylvania. Most violations of the Uniform Firearm Act carry a maximum sentence of at least five years in prison, with more serious offenses carrying a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment and a $25,000.00 fine. With so much at stake it would be foolish to entrust you case to anyone other than a dedicated private criminal lawyer to handle your matter.
If the firearm was not found on your person, there may be a constructive possession defense. Under such a defense the government is obligated to prove the defendant knew where the firearm was located, and intended to exercise dominion and control over the firearm. While the court looks at many factors in evaluating constructive possession it is important to remember the standard, like all criminal cases, is beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have no prior criminal record, you should apply for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) before the preliminary hearing. If the District Attorney pre-approves you for this program then your case may be expunged conditioned on successful completion of probation and payment of a fine
Most mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession charges have been eliminated. Nevertheless, they are serious offenses. The most common illegal gun charges in the state of Pennsylvania are 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106, § 6108, § 6105, and § 6110.2.
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VUFA Possession of Firearms Lawyer
Firearm Possession is a serious charge in Pennsylvania. Possession of a Firearm Prohibited is a felony of the second degree carrying a maximum sentence of ten years incarceration. Carrying Firearms on Public Streets in Philadelphia is another commonly charged offense, carrying a maximum of five years incarceration and a penalty of $15,000.00. If you have been charged with Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number, you may also be subjected to felony two consequences (10 years imprisonment, $25,000.00). With the stakes so high it is critical that you explore all possible defenses.
Felony firearm possession can carry a maximum Offense Gravity Score (“OGS”) of up to ten. This means that if you are caught with a firearm under certain circumstances, you may be facing a recommended sentence of two to three years in jail, even if you have no prior criminal record and the judge adheres to the sentencing guidelines. Fortunately, there are several strong defenses to firearm possession that you should consider closely before accepting any guilty plea.
In all firearm possession cases, the government has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is the sort of doubt that would case one to hesitate in coming to a major life decision. The government must prove you possessed a firearm beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, the government charges a defendants with possession of a firearm but the gun is not found on his person. In such situations, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defend knew the firearm was there and intended to exercise dominion or control over the firearm. This is called constructive possession.
In many constructive possession cases, it is far from clear who was actually in possession of the firearm. For example, if a gun is found in a glovebox of a car or under a seat, the government has to prove the defendant knew it was there and intended to use it. If such a case is brought to a jury there may be a reasonable doubt as to who actually possessed the firearm.
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The government also often fails to fully prepare the cases and leaves evidence missing. For example, in most gun possession cases the gun is never tested for fingerprints. In such a case the attorney may argue to a jury that the police and or government did a shoddy job collecting evidence. After all if it’s the defendant’s gun why wasn’t it tested for fingerprints? Such evidence is important to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been charged with firearm possession and are currently incarcerated, explore a rule 600 motion for release, motion for house arrest, detainer motion, or bail motion to get home. While few judges will lift a detainer where there are pending gun charges, in most other situations a defendant may be able to secure bail and/or house arrest and get home awaiting trial.
Consider whether the confiscated firearm is operable. If the gun recovered is not a gun, is a bibi gun, fake gun, or if the defendant had a license to carry then the defendant was improperly charged. In all such situations a defendant may obtain an acquittal.