Maryland Handgun Charge Lawyers
Maryland can have very confusing handgun laws, which often leaves citizens and visitors in the State of Maryland confused about their ability to purchase, carry, or transport firearms. Generally speaking, Maryland's handgun laws are where most criminal gun charges arise form, because handguns are treated most harshly under Maryland's two major gun charge statutes. Firearm charges aren't simple, an attorney is needed to explain what you may be charged with. Law enforcement officers often charge handgun offenses pursuant to roadside stops. Many unknowing visitors in Maryland possess carry licenses in Virginia, or the District of Columbia, and are unaware that Maryland has VERY strict handgun transportation laws. Often drivers who are passing through the State do not realize that thei are illegally carrying a handgun on roadways, and are charged as a criminal with a gun offense, meanwhile they are legally permitted to carry in other places. Maryland's gun laws aren't always clear and differ greatly from the surrounding states like PA and VA. Persons in the Armed Forces, and upstanding citizens can even be charged with Maryland Gun charges related to handguns in their vehicles. This is where having the right Maryland gun Lawyer becomes essential to protecting your right to carry, and defending you in the criminal justice system.
Maryland has two competing weapons charges statutes, both of which can land you in jail if you are not represented by a competent Maryland gun lawyer.
1. Wear-carry-transport handgun
Criminal charges contained within Section 4 of Maryland's Criminal Law Code, Statute, Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting a handgun include a number of potential charges. For example, within this statute is:
- Handgun on person
- Handgun in vehicle
- Loaded handgun on person
- Loaded handgun in vehicle
Each of these charges is a misdemeanor, and carries a first time maximum penalty of 3 years of incarceration. There are subsequent offender penalties and mandatory minimum penalties that could apply in your case as well. If convicted of a loaded handgun offense, the court may not suspend any part of or impose less than the mandatory minimum sentence. This means that the Court may be forced to incarcerate you if you are convicted of having a loaded handgun. Legal representation in these cases is especially important, as a Maryland gun lawyer can explain which charges you may at highest risk for. These offenses are not considered violent crimes under Maryland Criminal code. These charges are frequently brough by a law enforcement officer who confiscates a handgun from a vehicle and brings gun charges against a person.
How can you beat this charge?
To prove a wear carry transport charge, the State needs to show the handgun is operable. This is usually done by having a firearms examiner fire the weapon at a Police Station. They then produce a certificate that the weapon fired. If the weapon doesn't fire - we can beat this charge.
Another strong defense in handgun and firearm cases is suppression. Often times, firearms are recovered during the search of a vehicle. Vehicle searches are governed by the fourth amendment, which can be used to stop illegal searches and seizures. The reason for the traffic stop may be insufficient, or the police may have exceeded the scope of an allowable search of a vehicle. These are case specific issues we will have to review with you during a consultation.
There are a large number of exceptions to the statute that might apply as well, like going to and from a gun range, going to and from a point of sale, or going to a police station to surrender a firearm.
2. Public Safety Article Handgun Charges
In addition to the criminal charges for wearing, carrying, and possessing a firearm, Maryland has criminal penalties associated with Public Safety Article 5-133, Restrictions on Possession of Regulated firearms. The statute lays out a number of different reasons a person can be disqualified from possessing a firearm, some of which include:
- Previous conviction for a disqualifying crime.
- Conviction of a common law crime and imprisonment for over two years
- Being a fugitive from justice
- Being a habitual drunkard
- Being a habitual user of drugs
- Being found incomptent by a Court previously
- Being under 21 years old at the time of possession
- Being previously adjudicated delinquent, and being under 30 at the time of the possession.
- Being previously convicted of a felony
- Being previously convicted of a crime of violence (Not what you'd expect)
Most of these charges are misdemeanors carrying maximum penalties of one year, with the exception of firearm possession by a felon, or someone previously convicted of a crime of violence. A personal unlawfully possessing a firearm may be exposed to charges under this statute. These gun charges can be charged consecutively, meaning you could be convicted of more than one of these offenses at the same time for one gun.
What are the penalties for giving a felon a firearm?
The penalty is substantially higher for someone who has a prior felony or crime of violence conviction and is in possession of a firearm. A mandatory five year prison sentence would be imposed, without the possibility of parole. The possible sentence can go up to fifteen years if a person is convicted.
What is a crime of violence for 5-133(c) charges?
For the purposes of this section, a crime of violence includes:
(1) abduction; (2) arson in the first degree; (3) assault in the first or second degree; (4) burglary in the first, second, or third degree; (5) carjacking and armed carjacking; (6) escape in the first degree; (7) kidnapping; (8) voluntary manslaughter; (9) maiming as previously proscribed under former Article 27, 386 of the Code; (10) mayhem as previously proscribed under former Article 27, 384 of the Code; (11) murder in the first or second degree; (12) rape in the first or second degree; (13) robbery; (14) robbery with a dangerous weapon; (15) sexual offense in the first, second, or third degree; (16) home invasion under 6-202(b) of the Criminal Law Article; (17) a felony offense under Title 3, Subtitle 11 of the Criminal Law Article; (18) an attempt to commit any of the crimes listed in items (1) through (17) of this subsection; or (19) assault with intent to commit any of the crimes listed in items (1) through (17) of this subsection or a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year.
A SECOND DEGREE ASSAULT CONVICTION WOULD BE CONSIDERED A CRIME OF VIOLENCE DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT IS A MISDEMEANOR
A maryland gun attorney is going to be essential in a felon in possession case, as the criminal justice system has imposed significant mandatory minimum jail sentences. These gun charges are no joke.
Can this charge be beat?
This charge is not subject to the operability defense explained above; however, it is possible to challenge the search and seizure from which the handgun may have been found. The State must show that these handguns or weapons are "regulated firearms"; however, this term is defined in the Maryland Code Public Safety Article as "any handgun" which, includes semi-automatic, assault pistol, revolver, or any other handgun. This is regardless of caliber, 9mm, .22, .45, or any other round size.
What should I do if charged with a handgun offense?
If you are charged with a handgun crime, you should speak with a qualified attorney right away. Attorney client priviledge would protect your conversation. An attorney can explain potential defenses that might apply in your case, and can give you an idea of what the potential penalties you could face are. An attorney can evaluate the charges brought against you in advance of trial, and help to generate a trial strategy to win your case. Gun crimes are treated seriously throughout the State, avoiding jail time may depend on your lawyer's ability to defend the case. Our law offices are situated throughout the State, where a criminal defense attorney can meet with you in a free consultation. Maryland Gun cases are serious matters, and having a lawyer who knows the Maryland Criminal code is essential to defending you.
Who should I choose as my Maryland Gun Lawyer?
Maryland is full of attorneys who bill themselves as "criminal defense attorneys" who also spend part of their day analyzing car accident cases. Both Luke Woods and Max Frizalone specialize in criminal defense, and each of them has earned not guilty verdicts on felony charges. Maryland Gun Lawyer Luke Woods and Max Frizalone have experience picking juries and trying felony cases before Judges and Juries alike. Choosing the wrong attorney to bring to trial can mean the difference between freedom and a long period of incarceration. Call us today for a free consultation.
Luke Woods is a veteran trial attorney with over two decades of purely criminal defense experience. Luke has experience defending clients in felony cases of all varieties. Luke has earned acquittals, dismissals, and not guilty jury verdicts on countless felony cases during his career as a private attorney. Luke will leverage his knowledge of felony cases to ensure your case is dismissed before indictment. The most important thing you can do if charged with a felony is call hire experienced legal counsel like Luke Woods who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. Luke has a wealth of experience in handgun cases, and regularly litigates them in Circuit and District Court. Call today and speak with him directly for a free case analysis.
Max Frizalone accrued felony trial experience in his prior roles as a prosecutor, public defender, and private attorney. Max has defended felony cases in Circuit Courts throughout Maryland. Max and Luke have worked together to have high profile cases dismissed in the past, including a first degree rape. Max has experience with both misdemeanor and felony handgun cases in Maryland as both a former Assistant States attorney, or Prosecutor and private attorney. Max is unafraid of taking a case to trial, which has earned him the respect of numerous States Attorney's Offices, and judges alike. Max and Luke make a great team, having previously collaborated on charges to include first-degree murder.
Want to speak directly with a Maryland Gun Lawyer who knows the Maryland Criminal Law Code? Give us a call today