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What is a gun crime lawyer?

Find out what a gun crime lawyer is, how they can help, and what to do if you're dealing with a weapons offense.

evident Editorial Team
June 21, 2023
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A gun crime lawyer is a defense attorney specializing in cases related to gun crimes, armed offenses, and firearm laws. Having the right legal representation can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal when confronted with gun charges or other firearms offenses.

In this article, we'll explain common gun crime charges, what gun crime lawyers do, when their services become essential, and the steps you must take if you're ever arrested for a weapons offense.

Let's begin.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Federal and State Gun Laws

Federal Gun Laws

The Second Amendment of the Constitution grants all Americans the right to bear arms. Over time, however, that right has become subject to regulations.

Federal gun laws form the foundation of firearm regulation in the United States. The Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 are prominent federal laws.

These laws regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, and transportation of firearms and ammunition. They prohibit specific categories of individuals, like convicted felons and those with restraining orders, from owning guns.

Furthermore, they mandate background checks for those purchasing firearms from federally licensed dealers. Understanding federal laws is crucial when faced with gun crime charges.

State Gun Laws

State gun laws vary significantly from state to state, with some having stricter regulations than others.

For example, California and New York have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, with additional restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. They also require permits for carrying concealed weapons.

On the other hand, states like Arizona and Alaska have more lenient gun laws, with no requirement for a permit to carry firearms openly or concealed. Knowledge of state-specific laws is crucial when dealing with gun charges, as they can influence the severity and defense strategy.

What are Gun Charges?

Gun charges are criminal charges encompassing a wide range of activities associated with the illegal use, possession, sale, or distribution of firearms. These offenses are severe and heavily punished under federal and state laws, often leading to substantial penalties, including hefty fines and incarceration.

Gun crimes can vary from a less severe offense of illegally possessing a firearm to more serious gun charge like committing a violent felony offense with a firearm that results in serious bodily injury to another person.

Common Gun Crime Charges

There are many different types of criminal offense that involve gun-related charges. The most common gun crimes include:

  1. Illegal possession of a firearm: This charge involves gun possession without a legal right to do so, such as possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, an illegal immigrant, or a person with a restraining order.
  2. Unlawful sale or distribution: This charge pertains to the illegal sale or distribution of firearms, often related to gun trafficking.
  3. Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit: In many jurisdictions, carrying a concealed weapon requires a specific permit called a concealed carry permit. Violating this law can lead to a gun charge.
  4. Use of a firearm in the commission of a crime: This charge is often brought when a gun is used to carry out another crime, like robbery or assault.
  5. Unlawful discharge of a firearm: This refers to situations where a gun is fired in a place where discharging firearms is prohibited.

Understanding these charges is the first step towards knowing when you need representation by a gun attorney.

When do I need a Gun Crime Lawyer?

The moment you face gun-related charges is the moment you need a gun crime lawyer.

Gun crime lawyers are necessary when dealing with any severe gun charge, from illegal possession to using a firearm in a violent crime.

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Whether you've been falsely accused or believe your rights as a gun owner have been violated, good defense attorneys can provide the legal expertise to navigate the complexities of gun crime cases.

What Does a Gun Crime Lawyer Do?

A gun crime lawyer is a defense attorney specializing in gun laws, providing legal representation for individuals accused of gun-related crimes. They possess an in-depth understanding of federal and state gun laws, enabling them to effectively challenge the prosecution's evidence. Their responsibilities include interpreting laws, preparing legal documents, and representing their clients in court.

A gun crime lawyer will also work towards reducing your sentence, getting charges dismissed, or negotiating plea deals when appropriate. For instance, if you've been charged with possessing a firearm or other gun-related offenses, a gun crime lawyer will develop a defense strategy based on the specifics of your case, local and federal laws, and precedents from other similar cases.

What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested for a Weapons Offense?

Getting arrested on weapons charges can be an overwhelming experience. However, the actions you take immediately following the arrest can significantly impact your case.

  • First, remember you have a right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right not to incriminate yourself. Therefore, most attorneys advise you not to discuss the details of your case with anyone except your attorney.
  • Second, contact a criminal defense or gun crime lawyer as soon as possible. Most will give you a free consultation to see if it's the right fit. Your lawyer will guide you through the process, help protect your rights, and start building a defense strategy.
  • Lastly, document the circumstances of your arrest as soon as you can. Detailed recollection can be invaluable for your defense attorney when arguing your case.

Whether it's a serious gun-related crime or a less severe firearms offense, having a competent lawyer on your side can significantly affect the outcome.

The Costs of Hiring a Gun Crime Lawyer

When facing gun charges, one of the immediate concerns is often the cost of hiring a gun crime lawyer.

Legal fees can vary greatly depending on the lawyer's experience, the case's complexity, and the trial's length.

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Costs could range from a few thousand dollars for less complex cases to tens of thousands for severe charges or lengthy trials. Discussing fees with your lawyer during the initial consultation is essential, which many lawyers offer for free.

Remember that hiring a skilled gun crime lawyer is an investment in your future.

While the cost may seem steep, the potential consequences of a conviction—such as incarceration, hefty fines, and a criminal record—can be far more detrimental in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do you have to be to own a gun?

The age requirement for gun ownership varies depending on the type of firearm and whether it's being purchased from a private seller or a licensed dealer.

As per federal law, you must be at least 18 years old to purchase shotguns or rifles and at least 21 to buy handguns from a licensed dealer.

However, state laws may have different age requirements, so it's important to check local regulations.

How long does it take to get a gun license?

The process and timeline to get a gun license vary by state. Generally, the process involves a background check, fingerprinting, and sometimes, firearms safety training. Getting a gun license could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

For specifics related to your state, visit your local law enforcement agency's website or consult with a gun crime lawyer.

Which states have the strictest gun laws?

States like California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are often cited as having some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S.

These states have additional regulations on assault weapons, require permits for carrying concealed weapons, and conduct thorough background checks.

How does a gun crime lawyer help in cases of assault weapons?

A gun crime lawyer can provide significant help in cases involving assault weapons. They can challenge the prosecution's evidence, question the legality of the search warrant that led to the weapon's discovery, or argue that the weapon doesn't meet the legal definition of an assault weapon.

What are the implications of a violent felony offense for gun owners?

A violent felony offense can have severe implications for gun owners. Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law. Violating this law can lead to further charges and penalties, including fines and incarceration.

If you're a gun owner charged with a violent felony offense, it's imperative to consult with a gun crime lawyer immediately.