According to the 1968 Gun Control Act and its further amendments, felons are prohibited from possessing firearms in the United States. Also, the law extends to anyone convicted of domestic violence on a misdemeanor level. If you reside in New York and have a prior felony but are caught with a firearm, you need an attorney who is knowledgeable about state and federal firearm laws.
In New York, whole guns, pistol frames and some firearm parts qualify. The lower receiver of a rifle is always considered a firearm by state and federal standards. Some guns are also banned by classification in New York such as certain assault weapons. When they are accompanied by high-capacity magazines or supplies of ammunition, the penalties are more severe.
Felons who are convicted of certain offenses may be able to have their gun rights restored. This is a legal process that requires court filings and the help of an attorney. Having your rights restored is not the same as an expungement. Unfortunately, some people confuse the two processes and end up in trouble. An expungement simply hides a criminal conviction from public records that employers and landlords can see. However, it does not erase it from an actual state or federal criminal record.
Under federal law, felons possessing firearms may face up to 10 years in prison and significant fines. If you are caught using a firearm to commit a crime at the time of your arrest, the state penalties are severe. Penalties on a state level usually include time in prison and fines. However, some rare cases may warrant a lesser charge or a dismissal. For example, imagine that a friend gave you a gun as a gift. You had no idea what was in the box and never opened it. Your probation officer found it during a routine search. If the wrapping and packaging are intact and the prosecutor cannot prove guilt, the judge may be more lenient.
When you are arraigned, a public defender is assigned to represent you in court. The public defender is paid the same amount from the state regardless of invested hours or the case’s outcome. If you combine a public defender’s heavy case load with a lack of incentive, the combination could cost you your freedom and your future. A private criminal defense attorney has more time to devote to your case and will investigate the details thoroughly.
Our law firm always seeks to have the charges dropped first. If a search warrant was involved in the arrest, we review it to look for problems that could lead to a dismissal. When you hire us to represent you, we spare no expense in preparing a strong defense if you want to take the case to trial. We gather witness testimonies and expert witnesses if necessary. You also have the option of accepting a deal if the charges cannot be dismissed. Our attorneys work with the prosecutors and judge to negotiate good deal offers that minimize fines, reduce charges or reduce prison sentences. In some cases, the prison sentence can be shortened to only a fraction of the suggested maximum time.
Our attorneys always discuss the options and possible outcomes with you beforehand. If you have a felony conviction and were charged with possession of a firearm, call us today for a free and confidential consultation.