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Common Defenses Against An Illegal Firearm Possession Charge

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Even if you live in a state that is somewhat lenient when it comes to firearm ownership, you may face very severe penalties if you own a weapon that is illegal. In some cases, you might not even know that the weapon you are in possession of is illegal, such as if you make a modification to a part of your firearm that is considered an illegal modification. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Possession of an Illegal Weapon

If you somehow obtain an illegal weapon, you may be considered guilty of possession. You may obtain an illegal weapon by:

  • Purchasing it
  • Stealing it
  • Receiving it as a gift
  • Modifying a legal weapon to make it illegal

It's illegal to have a banned weapon in your vehicle or to carry certain types of weapons while you are drunk or high. Because certain facts need to be true to be charged with possession of an illegal firearm, your attorney may be able to make an argument as to why you shouldn't be charged with possession.

The Consequences of Owning an Illegal Weapon

Often, when owning an illegal weapon, the consequences can include several years in prison and a felony on your record. Having a felony can lead to it being illegal for you to own even a legal firearm. 

Make Sure That the Weapon Is Legally Considered a Firearm

A firearm is a weapon that is able to shoot a bullet or another type of projectile. The barrel must be smaller than a certain number of inches in diameter. Also, it cannot simply be an object that is made to look like a firearm, such as a clown gun that shoots a flag that says "bang." 

When you have manufactured the object that is now being considered a firearm, there might be a debate over whether it should actually qualify and your criminal charges may be dropped depending on how the courts ultimately classify your weapon.

Your Rights

Even if you are in possession of an illegal weapon, you have the right to not have your property searched without a warrant. If the officer performed an illegal search, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped. Regardless of which strategy you use, it's essential to hire a criminal defense attorney because it may otherwise be difficult to understand the complex legal codes.