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Published on 7/28/2023, 4:11:00 PM

Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges in Maryland - PS 5-133(c) & PS 5-206(a)

Maryland firearms charges for felons are seroius offenses. This article will outline some of the first steps a person should take if they receive charges related to firearms with a prior felony record.

The Search that changes your life

The knock at the door that changes everything. Maryland police are standing outside, and they've come to search your property. They find a firearm - and as a felon, this discovery could mean a return to prison. A simple traffic stop that has turned into a full car search - there's a firearm in the vehicle - even if its not yours - chances are you've been charged.

The severity of 'Felon in Possession' charges in Maryland cannot be overstated, nor can the value of an experienced criminal defense attorney in these situations. This post will guide you through understanding and combating these charges, emphasizing the benefits of hiring a professional to protect your rights.

Unpacking Felon in Possession Charges

A 'Felon in Possession' charge is filed when someone previously convicted of a felony is discovered owning, controlling, or having a firearm. Under Maryland law, this is a serious offense, differing significantly from federal laws on the matter. Maryland has expanded the laws about what constitutes a firearm. Simply possessing the frame or receiver of a firearm could land you with serious charges.

Felon in Possession of a regulated Firearm PS 5-133(c) Consequences of a Conviction

A conviction can lead to penalties including lengthy imprisonment and severe fines. Under Maryland PS 5-133(c) possessing a firearm with a felony conviction, or a prior conviction for a crime of violence, is a felony with a maximum sentence of fifteen years in a Maryland prison. There's a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for a conviction under this section as long as the State properly notifies the Defendant and their felony conviction is outside of five years.

The aftermath extends beyond the legal repercussions, leaving an indelible mark on your personal and professional life. Employers often hesitate to hire ex-felons with new charges, and social stigma can affect relationships and community standing.

What is a regulated firearm?

According to the public safety article a "regulated firearm" includes a handgun, or an assault weapon listed within the statute

Felon in Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun | PS 5-206(a)

A person who was previously convicted of a crime of violence, or certain drug related crimes cannot legally possess a rifle or shotgun in Maryland. A person found guilty of violating this law faces a potential felony conviction and up to fifteen years in prison.

Can I have a shotgun or rifle with a second degree assault conviction in Maryland?

Under PS 5-206(a) it is a felony for a person previously convicted of a second degree assault to have a rifle or shotgun in their possession. A person found guilty of this offenses faces a felony conviction and up to fifteen years in prison.

Is my gun charge a felony?

PS 5-133(c), possession of a regulated firearm by a felon is also a felony charge. Most other firearms charges in Maryland are misdemeanors; however, Judge may still incarcerate a person - even on their first time gun charge in Maryland

Why am I charged with PS 5-133(c) if I'm not a felon!

Maryland treats people with a prior "crime of violence" to the same set of penalties as a person with a prior felony. Unfortunately, the definition for "a crime of violence" under the Public Safety Article includes misdemeanors. Some of the most common disqualifying crimes of violence in Maryland include:

Notibly - second degree assault is considered a crime of violence.

How do I beat my gun case?

If you're wondering how to beat a gun charge in Maryland, the first step is to meet with a criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer should be able to review the Maryalnd Charging Document that contains the probable cause statement for the charges against you.

Once you've retained an attorney you can begin to formulate a defense strategy for your maryland gun case.

Building Your Defense: Navigating Felon in Possession Charges

Possession and Ownership

In law, possession and ownership are not always synonymous. An astute criminal defense attorney can argue the difference, potentially saving you from a conviction. If another person takes ownership of the firearm, or other evidence indicates taht it was theirs, this may provide a defense to the charge.

Constructive Possession

In Maryland, 'Constructive Possession' means you're considered in possession if you have the ability and intention to control the firearm, even if it's not physically on your person. This concept, though complicated, can be a cornerstone of your defense strategy.

Unwitting Possession

Could the firearm have been placed without your knowledge? The defense of unwitting possession can be a lifesaver in such situations, potentially leading to an acquittal. Juries in Maryland are well aware that firearms can be planted by Police or other citizens with the right motive to do so.

Illegal Searches - Suppression of Evidence

When it comes to firearm possession charges, the manner in which the evidence was obtained can significantly impact the case. Maryland law, in adherence to the Fourth Amendment, prohibits law enforcement officers from conducting illegal searches without a warrant, consent, or a valid exception to these requirements.

If the police found the firearm through an illegal search, that evidence might be suppressed, meaning it could be excluded from the trial. For instance, if law enforcement conducted a search of your property without a search warrant, or coerced you into consenting to a search, the evidence found could be deemed inadmissible.

The skilled attorneys at FrizWoods LLC have a deep understanding of Maryland's laws and can analyze the details of your case to identify any potential Fourth Amendment violations. If any such violations are discovered, they will fight to suppress this evidence, potentially leading to a dismissal or reduction of charges. Explore more about how we challenge such evidence in criminal cases in our detailed blog post.

Illegal Seizures - Vehicle stops without proper cause

Similar to illegal searches, the law also protects citizens from unlawful seizures. A vehicle stop without proper cause can be considered an illegal seizure. In the context of firearm possession charges, if a firearm was discovered during a traffic stop that lacked a proper cause, this evidence could potentially be suppressed.

For a traffic stop to be legal, law enforcement officers must have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic law has been violated or that criminal activity is afoot. Without such a reason, any evidence obtained during this stop may be inadmissible in court.

Our team at FrizWoods LLC is experienced in scrutinizing the circumstances of vehicle stops and other encounters with law enforcement. We'll work tirelessly to ensure your rights were not violated and, if they were, leverage this to your advantage in court. Learn more about how we approach traffic stops and their consequences on our blog.


Don't just take our word for it. Check out our case studies to see real examples of how we've successfully defended clients facing serious felony charges - including firearms cases.

Don't Fight Alone

Facing a 'Felon in Possession' charge is undoubtedly challenging, but remember, you don't have to fight alone. With the support of a dedicated legal team, you can navigate the complexities of the law and aim for the best possible outcome.

Don't waste time - speak with a lawyer today

Act swiftly. Time is of the essence when facing these charges. Get in touch with FrizWoods LLC today and let us help you build a robust defense. Don't forget to read our reviews to learn more about our successful case histories.

Why Choose FrizWoods LLC

At FrizWoods LLC, we don't just offer representation; we provide a robust defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. Our firm stands out for our personalized approach, our wealth of experience, and our unwavering commitment to our clients. But don't just take our word for it. See our proven track record in our reviews from clients we have defended successfully.

Your future is on the line, and every second counts. Reach out to FrizWoods LLC now and let us help you build a solid defense against your 'Felon in Possession' charge. We encourage you to read our reviews to understand why many others in your situation chose us. Take the first step towards your defense today.