When most people need a gun crimes attorney, it’s because of accusations related to some type of violent offense such as a robbery or assault. However, many seemingly law-abiding laypeople are charged with gun crimes each year for offenses they might not have known they were committing. Understanding what type of gun crimes you could be inadvertently charged with is critical to protecting your rights and maintaining your good name as a gun owner. The following are 4 categories of gun crimes that are generally non-violent and could happen to an under-educated gun owner.
1.) Unlawful Discharge
With hunting being a popular sport all across Pennsylvania, it can sometimes happen that a hunter accidentally wanders into a no-discharge zone and fires their weapon. Understanding your precise location at all times is important because this type of incident can result in serious charges against you – especially if you’ve wandered into a school or other protected zone.
2.) Unlawful Carry
Even a concealed carry permit doesn’t allow you to carry your weapon everywhere. School zones, public buildings, national parks and many other places bar the presence of weapons entirely. Violating one of these laws can land you in hot water, and ignorance of the law is no plea in the courtroom.
Possession charges have different levels of categorization, each with different sets of penalties. You can be charged with possession for having a gun in the wrong place, for possessing a gun and being previously convicted of any felony, for previous serious psychiatric treatment or incarceration, for domestic violence, court orders, related drug charges, etc., all involving possession of a gun.
4.) Excessive Force / Brandishing
Although not too common, sometimes charges for excessive force or brandishing can be the result of well-intentioned efforts. For instance, a homeowner may think they have a right to shoot someone who is stealing something from their yard, or brandish a weapon to “scare someone off.” While each state has its own set of laws, your rights to possess and discharge a firearm are strictly regulated and any accusation of an offense will likely be investigated and prosecuted aggressively if you’ve done something wrong.
If you’re facing gun crimes charges, you need to take action immediately to ensure the best results possible. It’s the prosecutor’s job to be certain you are charged with the most severe relevant crime possible, regardless of your intentions – and in many cases regardless of any mitigating circumstances. Consequently you need a gun crimes defense attorney who can keep the wolves at bay, mount a compelling defense and create a favorable outcome for your case.
Penalties for gun crimes can include steep fines, community service, incarceration, and loss of some types of insurances and certifications. Additionally, if the crime you’re charged with is a felony, you could forever lose your rights to own a gun.
At PKN Law, we once sat in the prosecutor’s chair, so we’re fully adept at anticipating actions and preemptively delivering powerful and timely responses. Let us come to your defense if you’ve been charged with a gun crime in Pennsylvania; mounting a good defense is as simple as a free consultation, so call the number at the top of your screen now.