Have you been charged with a firearm offense? Are you unsure of whether your charge is a federal or state firearm offense? For decades, the experienced Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. have helped guide people just like you through the complicated process of defending against serious crimes like these. Firearm offenses can be overwhelming and intricate. Handling a firearm offense charge yourself is a difficult and complex undertaking. Trust a Milwaukee firearm offense lawyer with experience in this area to represent you and your best interests.
Why You Need a Firearms Offense Lawyer
Every firearm offense is complex, whether it is a federal or state level crime. They often carry serious consequences which may include prison sentences and heavy fines. Many times, firearm charges may arise as a matter of confusion. The laws concerning firearms are not always clear, and carrying a firearm into a courthouse, educational facility, airport, or racetrack by mistake could result in serious firearm violation charges. For these reasons and more, you will want to hire an attorney who knows this area of law to assist you with your case’s defense.
An attorney can help you navigate your case and present the best defense possible to whatever charge(s) you may be facing. An experienced Milwaukee gun offenses attorney can look at the facts, analyze the charge, and formulate a defense that serves your best interests. The talented team of attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. can help you with your defense, conduct discovery, and digest the allegations of the prosecution to break down each contention and defend your freedom.
Even if a conviction is inevitable, an attorney can help you in the sentencing phase or, if applicable, in a settlement. While not ideal, some cases may not be winnable, but an attorney can effectively argue that you should not receive the most severe punishment applicable to your charge.
Contacting an attorney immediately after a charge is critical to your case’s success. An attorney can make the appropriate settlement strategy and presentation to the opposing counsel in situations where such might be on the table. The more time an attorney has to reflect upon this, the better your results will likely be.
Trust a firearms offense lawyer to assess your case and help formulate the best strategy for your defense and/or potential settlement. Handling the law and these processes alone can be overwhelming and a big risk. Contacting an attorney to handle these tasks is your best bet for success in preserving your best interests – and obtaining the best results.
Why Hire Us
The Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. defend the rights of those who have been accused, arrested or charged with firearm offenses. We have over 30 years of experience achieving Not Guilty verdicts, or having charges dropped altogether. We know what it takes to win criminal defense cases like firearms possession in state and federal court. With so much riding on the outcome of your case, you need us on your side.
Gun Crime Cases We Handle
Our attorneys can help you with any litigation needs you or your family may have. Our Milwaukee attorneys represent a wide variety of firearm offenses, including, but not limited to:
- Gun Possession
- Concealed Firearm Possession
- Transportation of a Loaded Firearm in a Vehicle
- Unlawful Sale of a Firearm
- Illegal Trafficking in Firearms
- Sale of Illegal Firearms
- Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
There are numerous circumstances under which it is unlawful to possess a firearm in Wisconsin. While there are no laws prohibiting regular citizens of legal age to openly carry a weapon in Wisconsin, it is discouraged. However, it is illegal for a person to carry or possess a gun:
- Near or inside of certain public buildings, such as:
- Schools: Carrying a weapon into a public or private school (or on school grounds, within 1000 feet of the actual school building) is prohibited, though there are limited exceptions to this law. This offense can be punished with a felony.
- Law Enforcement Stations: It is illegal to possess a firearm in police stations, sheriff stations, or state patrol buildings.
- Prisons and Jails: It is illegal to possess a firearm in prisons, jails, or any state corrections facilities.
- Courtrooms: Carrying a firearm into a Wisconsin courthouse (federal, state, or municipal) is prohibited
- Airports: Beyond TSA security checkpoints, it is illegal to possess a firearm. Firearms can be placed legally in checked baggage, with a concealed carry license. However, you must make sure to check any firearm laws pertaining to states that you travel to if you plan to leave the state of Wisconsin.
- Mental Health Facilities: It is illegal to carry a firearm into a state mental health facility.
- On Property with a Warning: It is the right of land and property owners to provide notice that guns are not allowed on their property or in their structures. If the owner provides a warning (either orally or in writing), it is illegal to carry a weapon onto the premises.
- Parking Lots: Wisconsin law does allow individuals with licenses to carry firearms when in the parking lots of structures. However, exceptions do apply to this rule as well: Individuals are not permitted to have firearms in the parking lots of federal buildings.
- If they are a convicted felon
- If they committed a crime as a child that would have otherwise been a felony
- If they’re the subject of a restraining order for domestic or child abuse
- If they were ever found not guilty of a felony by way of insanity
There are many other gun control statutes in Wisconsin, and being convicted on any of these charges can lead to life-altering consequences. As such, it is important that you secure experienced legal representation as soon as possible if you have been accused of violating any of these statutes. Some of the consequences of being convicted of unlawfully possessing a gun can include:
- Jail time
- Permanent conviction on a criminal record that will make it difficult to get a job or take out loans
- A combination of some or all of these
These punishments will have a serious effect on your life. Whether you have to spend actual time in jail or follow strict probationary conditions, a criminal conviction will bring debilitating consequences to your life. The difference between being free and being incarcerated could depend on the attorney representing you.
The right to bear arms is a right granted to all Americans in the Constitution. The right to carry concealed firearms, however, is based on laws that vary from state to state. In Wisconsin, citizens are not allowed to carry concealed firearms, unless they have a permit to do so. Because the laws regarding concealed carry are different depending on which state you are in, it can lead to confusion and people can break this law in Wisconsin on accident. Additionally, someone could accidentally conceal their weapon without realizing their mistake. Getting in trouble with the law for a simple mistake regarding a notoriously confusing set of requirements is especially unfair to people who may not have been aware of the law to begin with.
Individuals who are found carrying concealed guns will likely face criminal punishment. If you believe that you have been unfairly accused of carrying a concealed weapon, we might be able to create a case of defense for you. Having a criminal defense attorney on your side to defend you dramatically increases your chances of getting the charges lowered or dropped.
One of the places where gun-carrying laws are limited by state regulation is within a vehicle. Like other firearm rules, laws about transporting weapons are complicated. In short, Wisconsin prohibits the carrying of a firearm in vehicles, including cars, all-terrain vehicles, planes, and boats.
These laws are limited by certain qualifications. You are permitted to carry a weapon in any car if the vehicle is stationary. In boats, however, the motor may be running. In planes, weapons must be placed in closed cases regardless of whether the plane is in motion. If in any of these vehicles the weapon is unloaded, it is legal to carry it with a license.
Many factors are at work in Wisconsin laws guiding the transportation of firearms. An attorney can build a case based on any of these elements, depending on the case:
- Proof that the weapon was unloaded
- Proof that the vehicle was stationary
- Proof that the weapon was enclosed in a carrying case
- Proof that the weapon was out of reach
The most important and relevant aspect is that the weapon is unloaded. There are exceptions to these rules. Individuals with licenses may bear arms on their own property. Active duty law-enforcement and military officers are permitted to carry weapons in vehicles in Wisconsin. Transporting a firearm is a serious offense that can range from a fine to a criminal conviction.
Unlawful Sale of a Firearm
Though the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens’ right to own and bear arms, other aspects of gun control, including who you are allowed to sell firearms to, differ from state to state. Wisconsin takes its gun laws very seriously, and unlawful sale of a firearm can be viewed as a very serious offense. Selling a firearm to the following individuals is illegal in the state of Wisconsin:
- Those under the age of 21
- Convicted felons
- Those with documented mental health conditions
- Those charged with certain domestic violence offenses
- Those with restraining orders against them
Failure to wait 48 hours before a firearm sale is complete can also result in a criminal charge. Some people accused of this crime have unknowingly made a sale. If you have been accused of an illegal gun sale, our gun crime attorneys can help you fight the charges you are facing.
Illegal Trafficking in Firearms
If you have been accused of arms trafficking, the penalties you may be facing can be quite harsh. The severity of your punishment will depend upon a variety of factors specific to your case, including:
- Type of firearm possessed
- Crimes committed with the firearm
- Severity and type of crime committed with the firearm
Even though firearm trafficking charges are difficult to prove, the legal battle can be lengthy and a conviction can result in serious punishments. Do not allow your rights to be subverted. Contact an attorney immediately if you are facing firearm trafficking charges.
Sale of Illegal Firearms
The sale of a totally legal firearm can become a crime if the sale is not executed in complete accordance with state and federal laws. Some sellers, admittedly, may attempt to circumvent the law or attempt to sell firearms that are not legal to sell.
However, whether through ignorance or intent, selling illegal firearms is a serious federal crime that can occur in a variety of ways. Examples of illegal firearm sales include:
- Sale to a prohibited person, such as a(n):
- Convicted felon
- Known drug user
- Illegal alien
- Individual under a domestic restraining order
- Individual with a prior domestic assault convictions
- Individual who has been dishonorably discharged from the military
- Sale of any firearm to a minor
- Sale of a handgun to an individual under the age of 21
- Sale of stolen or counterfeit firearms
- Sale by an unlicensed dealer across state lines
- Sale of prohibited weapons, including:
- Fully automatic firearms or parts to enable fully automatic fire
- Sawed-off rifles or shotguns
- A semi-automatic assault rifle manufactured after October 1, 1993
- A firearm with a destroyed or altered serial number
If you have knowingly or unknowingly committed one of these acts, get legal representation as quickly as you can. These charges can be scary to face and can result in severe and life-changing consequences. Working with a knowledgeable firearm offenses attorney may help you avoid the worst of your potential penalties.
Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
Because firearms can be extremely dangerous, numerous laws across the United States are meant to help prevent firearm-related injuries and deaths. These laws differ from state to state, but most restrict firearms from being discharged in public spaces or in ways that might endanger others. Wisconsin’s laws are particularly strict and include certain restrictions that prohibit anyone from discharging a firearm while intoxicated or with the weapon aimed at another person. Violations of these laws are taken very seriously, and the penalties can be harsh.
If you have been accused of the unlawful discharge of a firearm, you should seek legal counsel immediately, as these charges can have serious long-term consequences. The Milwaukee unlawful discharge of a firearm defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. can defend you to prevent these charges from negatively affecting your life. With over 30 years of experience in criminal defense, we will fight for you, your rights, and your freedom.
If you have been accused, arrested, or charged with a firearm offense, contact an attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are properly protected.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been charged with a firearm offense, you undoubtedly have questions about your rights and how you’ll defend yourself against these allegations. The attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. are here to ease your mind and take the burden off your shoulders. We will make sure that you fully understand the charges against you, and we’ll fight tooth-and-nail to reduce the impact this arrest will have on your life. Because we want our clients to understand the defense process, we are always available to answer any questions you may have. Call us at (414) 271-9595 and read a few of our frequently asked questions below:
How much does it cost to defend against a gun charge?
Although the cost for an attorney may feel high, the risk you are taking by not hiring an attorney is even higher. Every case is different, with different possible punishments and fines that may come with a conviction. As a result, it is hard to quote a price without knowing more about your case. Calling our firm today at (414) 271-9595 can help us better estimate what you may be looking at to retain our services. We can also give you an estimate on what costs you may incur if you handle your defense on your own. Our consultations are free and we are here for you to help you assess your situation and make decisions that are right for you.
How different are federal level offenses from state-level offenses?
Federal level and state level offenses vary in numerous ways. From the structure of the law to its applicability, to the punishment possible under each level, reading and defending against either state or federal firearm crimes can be overwhelming. Often, states will require proof of intentions to commit the crime in order for the crime to be charged or lead to greater success in conviction. Similar federal level firearm crimes, on the other hand, may not have such intent requirements, thus making the charge easier to prove. For this reason, among others, it is important to have an attorney help you navigate the hazardous trenches of your firearm offense case and make the best defense possible to the court.
If I am charged with a federal level offense, does that mean I am also charged with a state level offense? What about being charged with a state offense – am I also inherently charged with a federal offense?
This is tricky, because it depends. If you are not sure what you have been charged with and what charges may come down the pipeline as a result of your current charge: contact us! Depending on the charge you have incurred and the language of the statute relative to that charge, you may be able to be charged with a similar crime at a different jurisdictional level. That is, if you have been charged with a federal crime, it may be possible to be charged with a state level crime; however, it is not always guaranteed. The same may be said for those who have been charged with a state level offense. In order to figure out what you have been charged with and what your potential “additional” charges may be, consult an attorney, sooner rather than later.
How long will my case take to resolve?
Every case is different and no court cases are quick. Depending on your charge and the appropriate strategy for your claim, your case may take several months to resolve. This is why it is so important to hire an attorney to handle your case. Rather than losing your own precious time and energy toward learning the law, strategizing, and presenting your case, hire an attorney to do these difficult tasks for you. With us, you will gain peace of mind. Know that if you retain our firm, you will be in the right hands and with people who care about your case and freedom.
Call Us Today
No matter the complexity of your case, the Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. have the extensive experience needed to organize a strong case in your defense. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the techniques used by federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies and are able to successfully challenge their claims in court. The talented Milwaukee attorneys will be able to provide you with the highest quality representation available and will work diligently to protect your rights. Knowledge is power, so put that power in your corner by calling us today for a free consultation. For more information, contact the Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. by calling (414) 271-9595.