Chester County Gun Crimes Attorney
Firearms, Gun Crimes & Deadly Weapon Charges
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
– Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Despite the protections the Second Amendment would seem to offer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has vast restrictions of the possession and use of weapons and firearms. Court have generally not found that the Second Amendment is not a defense to these charges. Worse, if convicted, not only will you face prison time and fines, you may also appear as someone who is dangerous when potential employers, landlords and lenders see your criminal record.
If you have been charged with a weapons, gun or firearm offense in Chester County Pennsylvania, look to a team of Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys to be aggressive and fight for your rights. Talk to a lawyer as soon as you realize you are in trouble. It never helps to talk to the police or prosecutors without a lawyer – they will use anything you say against you.
Any criminal charge, whether a fight or a drug deal is automatically more serious if a gun or firearm is involved. A defense to a weapons charge may be to show that, although the gun was in the car you used, it was not your gun, it was not your car, or the drugs were not your drugs. If you were stopped and searched illegally, evidence can be suppressed or thrown out since it was found through illegal search and seizure. We know your rights under the Pennsylvania and US constitution to fight unlawfully seized evidence and fight illegal searches.
Any arrest for violent crime becomes more dangerous for the accused when weapons charges are involved, including domestic violence, robbery, and sex crimes. Simple assault can become aggravated assault or attempted murder. A common altercation can be construed as gang violence.
West Chester Weapons Charges Lawyer
You can rely on a team approach to your criminal charges when you hire an experienced West Chester weapons charges lawyer from Ciccarelli Law Offices. Our groups of skilled attorneys will review your charges and fight to get them reduced or dismissed, working to have all illegally obtained evidence — including, sometimes, the weapon itself — suppressed. We can also make your case in front of the jury. Call us today at Ciccarelli Law Offices to set up a free consultation.
We are based in West Chester and have office locations across the region, including in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Radnor, Springfield, Malvern and Lancaster. We serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia metro area including in Chester County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County and Delaware County.
Information on Pennsylvania Firearm Charges
- Certain Weapons and Weapon Sales Prohibited in Pennsylvania
- People Prohibited From Possessing Guns in Chester County
- Defenses to Gun Charges in West Chester
- Firearm Issue Resources
Certain Weapons and Weapon Sales Prohibited in Pennsylvania
Some weapons are always illegal to possess or sell, unless you have certain legal permission to do so. These are called “offensive weapons,” and they are defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 908. They include a machine gun, grenade, bomb, sawed-off shotgun, silencer, brass knuckles, switchblade, stun gun or any other weapon created to inflict serious bodily injury that serves no “lawful purpose.”
Having any of these weapons could lead to possession of a prohibited weapon charges. This is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. It is generally not an effective defense to argue you possessed the weapon for self-defense.
It is illegal to possess a concealed firearm unless you have a valid license, have legal justification because of your job, such as when you are an on-duty police officer, or if it is concealed on your property (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6106). If you would have been eligible for a license and have no prior offenses, it is a first degree misdemeanor. Otherwise, it is a third degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
There are several procedures that must be followed when selling guns. Any violation, including a violation of the waiting period law, is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Selling a dangerous weapon, including a gun, to a person younger than 18 is a first degree misdemeanor.
People Prohibited From Possessing Guns in Chester County
Some people who are convicted of certain crimes are, under Pennsylvania law, never allowed to possess a firearm until a court has restored that right once they have served their sentence. Those offenses include:
- Three or more DUIs;
- Any drug offense that results in a sentence of more than two years;
- Certain weapons and firearm offenses;
- Murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter if the conviction involved a gun;
- Rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault;
- Burglary and criminal trespass, if the charges were a second degree felony;
- Aggravated assault and assault by a prisoner;
- Kidnapping; or
Additionally, it is illegal to possess a gun if you are a fugitive from the law, an undocumented immigrant, legally incompetent, have been committed to a mental institution or if you are under a protection from abuse order with a prohibition on firearms.
Violating this law is a second degree felony, with punishments of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Additionally, it is a third degree felony to sell a firearm to such a person.
Defenses to Gun Charges in West Chester
It is generally not going to be an effective defense to cite your Second Amendment rights. The U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately interprets the Constitution, has mostly ruled that state restrictions on weapons, like the ones found in the Pennsylvania Code, are within the bounds of the law. Saying the law is invalid, even if you genuinely possessed the weapon for self-defense, is not likely to help you avoid a conviction.
However, your West Chester criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress any evidence that may have been obtained as a result of an illegal search, including the gun or weapon itself. Without critical evidence, your charges might be reduced or dismissed.
Firearm Issue Resources
Chester County Firearms Licensing: Information on carrying a concealed weapon in Chester County and how to obtain a license.
Armed Citizen Project: The Armed Citizen Project is a nonprofit group that helps citizens in high-crime areas obtain firearms for self-protection.
Gun Owners of America: The GOA advocates for the restoration and protection of Second Amendment rights to Congress.
National Rifle Association: The NRA promotes ownership of guns and lobbies U.S. Congress and state legislatures for gun rights.
Fighting for Your Rights in Firearm Charges
If you are facing charges for illegal possession or sale of guns or any other type of weapons charge, you can hire a team of defense attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices. A West Chester weapons charge lawyer from Ciccarelli Law Offices can fight for your rights and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. We represent people around West Chester and throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, including Downingtown, Exton, Paoli, Willow Street, Ephrata, Phoenixville, Coatesville and Lititz. Call us today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a free consultation.
Seek a Gun Crime Lawyer in Chester County
While there are no guarantees in criminal defense law, understanding your rights and the legal options available to you can improve your chances when defending yourself from charges of gun crimes, firearms, weapons, concealed weapons and unlicensed firearms. As a criminal defense attorney with years of experience in our criminal justice system, I understand how to negotiate with the court, how to identify questionable police conduct and suspicious testimony, and prevent clients from making certain kinds of mistakes.
You also need Chester County criminal defense lawyers both passionate in what they do and compassionate in their treatment of their clients. You deserve a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer that is available when you need him, treats you with respect, and protects your rights vigorously. We make your choice all the clearer fighting for clients throughout Chester County. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer, contact the lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices today (610) 692-8700.