Felon Possession of a Firearm
The Second Amendment to our Constitution gives us the right to possess firearms. It’s plain and direct language however has been modified over time through various laws as the type and number of available firearms in our country has changed. There are many different laws about who, where, and when a person may possess a firearm. These numerous state and federal regulations can be confusing to understand, but they are strictly enforced.
As a felon accused of possession of a firearm, you are facing serious charges that claim you have violated the agreements of your parole or release. Immediately contacting an attorney is the best way to defend yourself from the possibility of years of jail time.
The dangers of being found guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm can range from significant monetary fines to years of prison time. This can not only change the course of your life, but also the lives of your loved ones.
If you have been accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers at Hart Powell, S.C. are here to help you understand your rights in your defense. Please contact our Milwaukee law firm today to discuss the steps you can take to defend yourself against these charges.
What Are the Laws About Possessing Firearms If I’ve Been Convicted of a Felony?
There are various federal and state regulations regarding possession of a firearm by those who’ve been convicted of a felony. In the majority of cases, anyone convicted of a felony offense cannot legally possess a firearm. Most state laws inhibit a convicted felon from ownership or possession of firearms.
Under federal law, the Brady Bill or the Brady Law also prohibits ownership or possession of a gun by a convicted felon. But the possession of a firearm alone is typically not enough to support a federal charge under the Brady Bill. To be charged with a federal crime, there is a transport element that must also be proven. Under the Brady Law, the gun in question must have been transported across state lines by the felon.
To make matters more complicated, consider that possession of a gun has broader implications than just physically having a firearm on your person. Possessing a firearm can also be defined as having constructive possession, which is the existence of a firearm in an area that is under your control exclusively, even if a gun is not found on your person. In this case, having a firearm in your vehicle or your house, even if you are not present, is regarded as constructive possession.
On a federal level, the crime of felon in possession of a firearm is a Class D felony, and is punishable by as much as ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and $250,000 in fines. According to United States Sentencing Guidelines, you could be assigned a base offense level between 12 to 26 if convicted as a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a guideline range of 10 to 78 months of incarceration before taking into consideration any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
What to Do When Charged With Possession
If you or someone you care about is a convicted felon charged with possession of a firearm, there are laws that can work in your favor as you prepare to present the best defense in court. A convicted felon can legally possess a firearm in certain situations. Exceptions to federal and state laws regarding a felon in possession of a fireman include the affirmative defense of “necessity.”
The United States Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit has specific laws in the case of elements and/or components that constitute the affirmative defense of “necessity.” According to the 6th Circuit, necessity is available only in “rare situations” and only under circumstances when the defendant is able to present the following conjunctive requirements:
- Reasonably fearing serious injury or death from an imminent threat.
- Not being in the path of such a threat as a result of reckless behavior.
- Reasonably believing that possession would deter the threat.
- Lacking any reasonable alternative to possession of a firearm.
- Maintaining possession of a firearm for only as long as needed to avert the threat. [the USA v. Jaffari Moore 12-6437/6437 filed October 23, 2013].
The circumstances surrounding the incident of possession determine whether a convicted felon can possess a firearm to defend their life. A defense will be available to them if the felon meets all five conjunctive elements listed above. If you are missing even one of those five requirements, then a defense will not be available to you.
Statutes pertaining to convicted felons in possession of a firearm were created to keep guns out of the hands of individuals believed to be dangerous. As such, charges for possession are notably unforgiving and harsh. Even an individual that was convicted twenty years ago can still be prohibited from possessing a firearm under most federal and state laws. Federal and state regulations can also overlap, making possession charges against a felon increasingly more complicated.
But there are steps you can take to defend yourself against these charges! If you are a convicted felon that has been charged with possession of a firearm, contact a criminal attorney immediately to discuss potential defenses and ways to mitigate a possible sentence.
Why You Need a Defense Lawyer
Have you been arrested for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon? Possession of a firearm charges can be complex and overwhelming. But you don’t have to face a felon possession charge alone!
If you already have a felony on your record, and you were charged with possession of a firearm because you were found in a situation where there was a gun available to you, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately!
Even if the case against you is already being built, the prosecution still needs to prove that you had knowledge of the firearm and had intentions to take control of it. An experienced attorney can help you through the details of the court system, advise you in regards to your rights, and help you present an effective defense in court.
You can trust the defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. to represent you and your best interests. For decades, our experienced Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers have provided the best legal representation to help people just like you navigate the complicated process of defending against serious crimes.
Cases We Handle
At Hart Powell, S.C., we have a history of winning criminal defense cases like firearms possession in state and federal court. Our attorneys can help you with any litigation needs you or your family may have. Our Milwaukee attorneys represent a broad range of firearm offenses, including, but not limited to:
- Felon possession of a firearm
- Illegal trafficking in firearms
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Sale of illegal firearms
When it comes to the outcome of your case, your future is on the line! Contact an attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are properly protected if you have been accused, arrested, or charged with federal firearm offenses.
As knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys in the laws and regulations regarding the possession of a fire arm, our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers will help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and do everything we can to prevent these charges from creating long-term hardship for you and your loved ones. Contact Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595 if you have been wrongfully accused as a felon in possession of a firearm.