Most people assume gun crimes always involve violence. The reality, however, is that many people facing gun charges are good people caught up in confusing legalities. Police frequently arrest gun enthusiasts, collectors, and hunters after they unintentionally break one of Dedham’s several gun laws. Fortunately, a Dedham gun lawyer could help those facing gun offenses defend themselves and move on with their life.
Possession of a firearm is a serious offense in Massachusetts and imposes a mandatory minimum jail sentence of anyone charged with possession of a firearm without an FID card, known as a Firearm Identification card.
Common defenses in cases involving possession of a firearm include:
Fourth Amendment challenges to the search and seizure:
A motion to suppress can provide an important defense in cases of possession of a weapon or firearm. A Fourth Amendment motion may arise based on the stop of the vehicle, challenging whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the car, challenging the basis for the exit order, whether the police had a reasonable fear for their own safety to order you from the vehicle and challenging the probable cause for the police to search the car, including whether any alleged inventory search was properly performed.
These Fourth Amendment challenges require a separate evidentiary hearing, where the police officer will testify to establish the Constitutional justification for the search and seizure. In cases involving discovery of weapons obtained as a result of the execution of a search warrant, a defense lawyer reviews the warrant to determine whether the magistrate had probable cause to issue the warrant. If it can be shown that the magistrate did not have sufficient probable cause to issue the warrant, then all evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search and seizure will be suppressed by the court.
Defense to firearm charge, lack of possession:In addition to Constitutional defenses, a possession of a firearm case also requires the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant possessed an alleged firearm. This requires the Commonwealth to show that the defendant had the ability to exercise dominion and control over the firearm. In cases, where a firearm is found in a car, with several individuals in it, it can often be argued that the defendant did not known the gun was in the vehicle, did not possess it, that it belonged to someone else. Even if the defendant is the only occupant of a vehicle, cases involving firearms being found in vehicles can be defended on lack of control over the vehicle, lack of knowledge that the firearm was in the vehicle and lack of possession. In any case alleging possession of a firearm, it is the Government's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant possessed a firearm and that the firearm constitutes a firearm under the statute in that it is a workable firearm, meaning that it could fire a bullet as is or with a some simple manipulation.
Though it is easy to be unnerved in the face of these mandatory sentences, there are multiple potential defenses a person could use. Some gun charges rest on illegal search and seizure by police. By thoroughly investigating the events that led to an arrest, a DelSignore gun attorney could determine whether the police upheld the constitutional rights of the individual charged.
The legal definition of a gun can also be put into question. By partnering with ballistics experts, an experienced firearm defense attorney could conclude whether the gun in question meets the legal definition of a firearm. The defense can even investigate whether a gun was technically in someone’s possession at the time of the arrest. Technicalities like this may be enough to allow for an acquittal or at least mitigate the potential penalties.MANDATORY-MINIMUM SENTENCING
Massachusetts law includes several mandatory minimum sentences associated with gun crimes. For instance, someone possessing an illegal gun outside their home could face a year in prison. Regardless of extenuating circumstances, this minimum sentence is mandatory.
Those committing a crime while in possession of a gun could also see jail time. Even if they do not use—or even draw—a gun during the crime, if police find a firearm on a person after a crime, they may face even stiffer sentencing. Mandatory sentences also often eliminate the chance for a person to negotiate a plea bargain.
Attorney DelSignore defends individuals charged with possession of a gun, firearm or other weapons, throughout Massachusetts and will meet with you immediately to discuss your case and provide you with a free consultation.
- Gun and Firearm defense in Massachusetts
- Defenses to Gun Crimes When You are Searched by an Officer
- What are the Penalties if I am Found Guilty of Unlawful Possession of Ammunition in Massachusetts?
- What Happens if you are an Out-of-State Resident Charged with Possession of a Firearm Without an FID Card in Massachusetts?