PENNSYLVANIA GUN CRIMES
Your Gun Privileges are on the Line
Many people in Pennsylvania own a gun for recreational purposes, hunting, or home protection. However, having a gun in the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to firearm charges. State and federal firearm charges carry heavy criminal penalties and could lead to a permanent ban on future gun ownership. Before pleading guilty to criminal gun charges, make sure you completely understand your rights and the attendant consequences of your plea.
Pennsylvania Gun Law
Certain individuals are not permitted to own or possess a firearm in Pennsylvania, known as “prohibited persons.” This includes:
- Individuals who have been convicted of drug offenses punishable by more than 2 years in prison;
- Individuals who have been convicted of multiple DUIs (3 or more within a 5-year period);
- Individuals convicted of certain violent crimes;
- Aliens unlawfully present in the United States;
- Individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution;
- Individuals are subject to an active protective order from abuse (restraining order).
- Individuals convicted of Misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
While qualified people in Pennsylvania are permitted to open carry a gun without a license, in order to carry a concealed weapon, you have to have a License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) permit.
Any person who carries a concealed weapon, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid license commits a third-degree felony. The penalties for a 3rd-degree felony in Pennsylvania include from 3.5 to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Misunderstanding of this law can lead to serious criminal charges.
Possession of A Firearm During a Burglary or Robbery
If a defendant is charged with Burglary or Robbery, the use or possession of a firearm can result in increased penalties. Use of a deadly weapon, including any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, results in a sentencing enhancement. A conviction for robbery or burglary may have a higher mandatory minimum and maximum prison sentence if the defendant possessed a firearm at the time.
The court must consider the deadly weapon enhancement (DWE)/Possessed Matrix (§ 303.17(a)) when the defendant possessed a firearm during the commission of a crime which increases the base sentence. The court must also consider a DWE/Used Matrix (§ 303.17(b)) if a firearm was used during the commission of a crime in a way that threatened or injured another individual. This also results in an enhanced sentence.
Federal Firearms Crimes
Certain gun crimes may be violations of federal criminal laws. The use of a gun in connection with drug trafficking or a crime of violence is a federal offense. Even if the defendant does not shoot the gun, threatening someone with a firearm can result in federal gun charges under 18 U.S.C. § 924 (c).
A conviction for a gun crime can carry serious penalties that may affect your future even after serving your sentence. Before you plead guilty to a weapons charge make sure you understand your options and your rights. We are devoted to representing the people of Central Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas.
We Protect Your Constitutional Rights
We will serve as your shield against the long arm of the criminal justice system. We will ensure that your rights are protected, evidence is tested and you do not incriminate yourself in any way.
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We are advocates for our clients at every stage of a criminal defense matter, including preliminary hearings, detention hearings, suppression of evidence hearings, plea negotiations, jury trials, bench trials and appeals.
We are known for our straightforward, aggressive approach to defending clients against serious crimes charges and for our ability to effectively challenge the prosecution at every stage of a case. We draw on our expert resources and our legal knowledge to investigate and build the strongest strategic case that we can on your behalf. Our team of experienced attorneys knows the best defenses for each unique case, and we know how to challenge each part of the Commonwealth’s case at the preliminary hearing; through pre-trial motions, and at trial with a judge or a jury. We also have extensive experience in skillfully negotiating for better outcomes for our clients, and we have obtained the best results even in cases in which the Commonwealth has a great deal of evidence. If you or a loved one are under investigation or facing Homicide by Vehicle charges, you need the best defense attorneys in your corner. Call 814-762-0004 for a free strategy session with one of our lawyers today.
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