If you are facing federal gun charges, it is important to work with a federal criminal defense lawyer who understands the court system and has the experience to secure the best possible outcome for you at trial.
At the Shealey Law Firm, we understand the severity of federal weapons charges and will work with you every step of the way to protect your rights and liberties. Contact us today and learn more about how our Columbia, SC, legal team can help you navigate the complexities of a federal criminal defense case.
What Are the Federal Firearm Laws?
Federal gun laws are the codes that regulate firearm ownership and restrict the ownership of certain types of weapons. Federal law prohibits the trafficking of guns or ammunition across state lines and restricts certain individuals from owning a firearm, including but not limited to felons, fugitives, juveniles and certain non-citizens. These laws also outline the penalties for those in violation of federal weapon restrictions.
If you receive federal gun charges, you may face a minimum mandatory five-year prison sentence for merely possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime, up to a possible minimum mandatory sentence of 40 years for repeat offenses and certain violent crimes. Other consequences for a federal firearms conviction can include the loss of a professional license, revocation of your rights to own a firearm in the future and mandatory supervised probation.
What Is the Federal Definition of a Firearm?
Federal law defines a firearm as any weapon that expels a projectile by the action of an explosive. This includes starter guns, weapons that one might convert to expel a projectile and even certain toy guns. The definition of a firearm can also extend to the frame or receiver of such a weapon as well as the muffler or silencer of a firearm. The law excludes many types of antique firearms from its official definition.
In addition to weapons commonly thought of as firearms, you might also face federal gun charges if you unlawfully possess other prohibited destructive devices, including:
Other types of firearms expressly prohibited by federal law include shotguns with short, sawed-off barrels, fully automatic firearms, many semi-automatic firearms and any firearm with an altered or removed serial number.
When Is Gun Crime a Federal Offense?
State legislatures have their own laws regarding gun ownership and handling. State and federal gun laws may differ in some respects or overlap in certain areas. In some cases, a defendant facing federal weapons charges might go to trial at both the state and federal levels.
As a general rule, federal gun charges entail much harsher consequences than those tried by state courts. Examples of offenses at the federal level include:
- Possession of a firearm during the commission of another federal felony, drug trafficking or weapon trafficking crime
- Possession of a federally outlawed firearm or destructive device
- Transportation of firearms or ammunition across state lines with the intention of committing a felony
- Possession of a firearm while under the terms of a court order restricting the harassment, stalking or threatening of another individual, particularly a child or partner.
How Can You Defend Against Federal Gun Charges?
Criminal charges at the federal level imply the potential for very severe consequences, all the more so when they involve the illegal use of dangerous firearms.
In order to convict you for a federal firearms offense, the prosecution must not only prove that you committed the alleged offense, but also that you possessed a firearm during the commission of that offense and that the act of possession was knowing and willful. You can defend yourself against the charges before you by successfully contesting one or all of these crucial points.
Having experienced federal gun charge lawyers in your corner is instrumental in building a case that can lessen the sentencing or even secure a complete acquittal. Our attorneys can facilitate your defense by:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest
- Handling paperwork and other administrative tasks throughout your case
- Representing you in court
- Providing guidance every step of the way
One particularly important element in your defense is the examination of the circumstances around which law enforcement discovered the firearm. If the discovery was a result of an unlawful search and seizure, then this discovery is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights and cannot be used as evidence against you in court.
Alternatively, your defense might take the angle that you lawfully possessed the weapon or that you had no knowledge of it in the first place.
What Types of Federal Gun Crimes Does Shealey Law Firm Handle?
At Shealey Law Firm, we defend our clients against a wide range of criminal charges, including multiple types of severe federal gun charges. If you stand accused of any of the following crimes, our team of criminal defense lawyers is ready to help you fight for a favorable outcome:
- Weapon trafficking: Weapon trafficking, also known as arms trafficking or gunrunning, refers to the illicit trade of firearms, destructive devices or ammunition via illegal streams of commerce. Weapon trafficking cases often entail the transportation of firearms across state lines.
- Possession by a felon: Individuals convicted of a felony with a potential sentence of one year or more in prison no longer have the right to possess firearms or ammunition. This policy applies regardless of how far in the past the conviction occurred.
- Possession by a juvenile: Minors under the age of 18 may not possess certain types of firearms, such as handguns, nor ammunition for those prohibited types of weapons.
- Possession of an illegal firearm: Possession of an illegal firearm, such as fully automatic weapons, certain semi-automatic weapons and other destructive weapons, is illegal even if the carrier does not attempt to use them in the commission of a crime.
Federal firearms charges carry severe consequences that can affect you for the rest of your life.
That is why it is so important to work with a criminal defense team experienced in defending against the types of charges you are facing.
Contact Shealey Law Firm About the Federal Gun Charges You’re Facing
If you are accused of federal gun crimes, you might feel as though the odds are against you. Our team at the Shealey Law Firm is passionate about getting justice for our clients facing the criminal justice system. Contact us today to discuss your defense against federal weapons charges in Columbia, SC.