During a recent arrest, two Lehigh County residents were charged with a number of drug and firearm offenses, including 14 counts of possession of prohibited firearms. The man and woman charged were both convicted felons. The offense of prohibited possession of a firearm is a very serious one in Pennsylvania, and not everyone has the right to own and use a firearm in the state. The Pennsylvania Statutes also outline strict penalties for anyone that breaks the law. If you have been charged with prohibited possession of a firearm, it is critical that you speak with an Allentown criminal defense lawyer.
Who is Prohibited from Possessing a Firearm?
Pennsylvania statutes Title 18, Chapter 65, Section 6105 governs prohibited possession of a firearm. Under the statute, it is illegal for certain individuals to own, use, possess, manufacture, or sell a firearm. It is also illegal for certain individuals to obtain a license for a firearm.
The statute outlines over 35 ‘certain persons’ that are prohibited from owning, selling, or transferring firearms. Some types of certain persons under the statute are as follows:
- Individuals convicted of certain offenses, including firearm crimes, aggravated assault, murder, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, and receiving stolen property
- Illegal immigrants
- Individuals that are the subject of a restraining order for abuse
- Individuals convicted of drug crimes
- Individuals with three or more convictions for DUI
Anyone convicted of breaking this law will face serious penalties, according to the statute.
Requirements for Individuals Accused of Breaking the Law
If you fall into any of the categories outlined within the statute and you are accused of breaking the law, you must sell or give the fireman to another person that can legally possess the firearm. That person cannot be a member of your household. Sometimes, a court may order you to hand your firearms over to a law enforcement agency. This is often the case if you are the subject of an abuse order.
If you do not relinquish your firearms to an appropriate person or agency, you will likely be charged with a felony of the second degree. In some cases, you may face charges of first-degree felony, or even a misdemeanor. For example, if the person you gave or sold the firearm to allowed you to use it while you were still prohibited from doing so, you may face misdemeanor charges.
Penalties for Prohibited Possession of a Firearm
The most common charge for prohibited possession of a firearm is a second-degree felony. The penalties if you are convicted are between five and ten years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $25,000. If the charge is upgraded to a first-degree felony and you are convicted, you face between ten to twenty years in prison.
A misdemeanor may sound like a minor charge, but it still carries harsh penalties. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you face between six months to five years in prison and high fines.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania Can Help You Beat the Charges
If you have been accused of prohibited possession of a firearm, you need a strong defense and our Allentown criminal defense lawyers can provide it. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our knowledgeable attorneys will build a solid case for you and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.