Weapons Charges / Gun Charges

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Federal Weapons and Gun Charges Must Be Taken Very Seriously

In California, a vast proportion of weapons offenses are state felonies investigated by local law enforcement and prosecuted in state court, but some weapons offenses can result in federal weapons charges. These are prosecuted in federal court by the US Attorney’s office.

If convicted of a federal firearms crime, you might face a term of five to ten years in prison, or perhaps a life sentence, depending on the specifics of your case. These are serious charges that deserve a serious response. Contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to learn how we can help.

Weapons offenses

Weapons offenses are violations of laws governing deadly weapons, such as firearms, which are defined by the federal government as “any weapon (including a starter gun) that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or any destructive device.”

The purchase, sale, possession, manufacture, import, and distribution of firearms are all governed by federal law, which prohibits the sale of firearms to certain restricted groups of people, such as convicted felons, and outright bans the sale of certain firearms, such as semiautomatic assault weapons and machine guns.

Unauthorized possession, guns trafficking, fraud, and “violent crimes,” or federal offenses involving the unlawful use of a firearm, are only some of the weapons accusations that can be tried in federal court.

The most prevalent federal weapons accusation includes individuals who have already been convicted of a crime and are thus prohibited from possessing any sort of firearm. Title 18 of the United States Code governs federal weapons offenses, which includes numerous sections dealing with crimes using firearms and other lethal weapons, such as the following:

  • Possession of a firearm or ammunition by a prohibited person knowingly sell, give, or otherwise dispose of a firearm or ammunition to a prohibited person
  • False statement on a gun purchase record
  • Use, carry, or possession of a firearm in connection with or in furtherance of a drug felony or a federal crime of violence
  • Stolen firearm, ammunition, or explosive firearm
  • Firearm in a school zone
  • Importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms without a license
  • Selling, delivering, or transferring a firearm to a juvenile
  • Importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms without a license
  • Drive-by shooting

Penalties for weapons offenses in the federal criminal justice system

Federal accusations often occur in situations when weapons are unlawfully produced, transferred across state boundaries, or used to commit a federal crime, or in other cases involving a breach of federal law. Individuals who break federal firearms laws face a range of criminal punishments, depending on the nature of the conduct, any aggravating elements, and the defendant’s previous history.

For example, a violation of “Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition by a Prohibited Person” is a Class C felony punishable by a maximum fine of $250,000 and a federal prison sentence of up to 10 years, but if the defendant has a prior felony drug or violent crime conviction, he or she could face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

A violation of “Use, Carry, or Possess a Firearm in Relation to or in Furtherance of a Drug Felony or Federal Crime of Violence,” on the other hand, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, with a potential sentence of up to life in prison, without parole, or death if the use of the firearm results in death.

Depending on the type of firearm used in the offense, past convictions, and whether or not other crimes were committed, the federal sentencing guidelines impose more severe punishments for specific firearms offences. Weapons violations are frequently charged in conjunction with narcotics crimes such as drug trafficking or violent crimes such as assault, and conviction can result in considerably enhanced punishments.

Defending against federal charges of weapons possession

Federal weapons crimes are investigated by highly skilled federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which have the time and resources to pursue criminal charges against defendants suspected of violating federal weapons laws. These cases are prosecuted by expert lawyers.

Firearms and other weapons charges are notoriously tough to overcome, but it doesn’t mean your federal weapons case is doomed. By contesting the prosecution’s evidence and holding the government to its burden of proof, a seasoned, trial-tested criminal defense attorney can effectively defend you against federal firearms accusations.

The prosecution must establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt in federal criminal trials, which is the highest level of proof available in criminal court.

The key to defeating federal firearms charges and clearing your reputation is to prevent the prosecution from establishing its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which your counsel can do by providing evidence that contradicts the prosecution’s account of events and causes the judge and jury to have doubts.

For example, if you are charged with illegally possessing a weapon, we may use one of the following defenses to contest the prosecution’s evidence:

  • An unlawful search resulted in the discovery of evidence against you
  • The arresting officer lacked probable cause for making the arrest
  • You do not fit into any of the federal statute’s exclusionary categories
  • There is insufficient evidence for the prosecution to establish the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
  • You had never been convicted of a felony before
  • The weapon was not transported in interstate or international commerce

We only need to cast doubt on one element of the prosecution’s case to create reasonable doubt. If you are ready to find the best possible way forward, contact Chambers Law Firm now at 714-760-4088. We will begin with a no-cost confidential consultation.

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