How to Fight a Gun Charge
Gun laws have become very nebulous over the years because they vary so greatly by state and sometimes conflict with federal law. As a result, you may not know what must be proven to be convicted of charges related to firearms in the state of Pennsylvania.
Burden of Proof
There are a few things that the prosecution must successfully prove beyond a reasonable doubt depending on the nature of the charge. For example, if a charge is involving illegal use, ownership, control, manufacturing, transfer, sales, or attempts to obtain a license they need to prove you are legally prohibited from doing so. License here refers to firearms and an electronic incapacitation device such as a taser. You are prohibited if you have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for inpatient treatment, are illegally within the country, or have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of Pennsylvania law on three or more occasions within the past five years. You’re also prohibited if you’ve been convicted of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act of the Commonwealth or an equivalent statute in another state or federal law, which is punishable by more than two years in prison.
Charges for carrying without a license or changing/removing identification markings on a firearm have different requirements for what constitutes as a ‘prohibited’ individual. Having a clear understanding of the specific nature of the charge can help you establish a stronger defense.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
If you qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program or ARD, you will be able to have the charges expunged. To qualify, you must be a first-time offender of a non-violent crime. The idea is to determine whether or not having your case handled in court would be a waste of state resources, as it is a lengthy process, and instead using an intervention program to ensure there are no repeat offenses. Aside from having no history and charged with a non-violent offense, you must agree to other conditions, and because the idea is to prevent state money from being used in court you waive your right to a preliminary trial.
We’re Here to Help
State gun laws can be difficult to navigate and are often subject to change. If you have charges against you involving firearms and need help from criminal lawyers in Quakertown PA, contact our law office today. As Bucks County criminal attorneys we proudly serve our community and help them get the justice they deserve.