If you do not have a license to carry a firearm and are caught with one, you can face serious charges in Pennsylvania. You can apply for a license to carry if you are 21 or older and are allowed to apply under the state’s laws. If you are convicted of carrying a firearm without a license, you could receive severe penalties. People who are facing gun charges should contact DiCindio Law to learn about how they might defend against their charges. Criminal defense lawyer Michael DiCindio can help you to understand the penalties and the defenses that might be available to you to fight your charges.
What is carrying a weapon without a license in Pennsylvania?
Carrying a firearm in your car or a concealed firearm on your person without a license is a crime under 18 Pa.CS 6103. Under this law, you can be charged with a crime if you carry a firearm without a license in any place other than your home or business. If you are not legally permitted to apply for a license or are also charged with another crime, carrying a weapon without a license is a third-degree felony. If you would otherwise be permitted to apply for a license and are caught carrying a firearm without a license, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.
There are multiple exceptions to this law, including the following persons:
- Law enforcement officers
- U.S. military service members
- People who have enrolled members of organizations to receive or purchase firearms
- Security or bank employees who are authorized to protect valuables or money
- Licensed gun manufacturers or dealers
- People who are carrying unloaded, securely wrapped firearms after sales, repairs, purchases, or appraisals
- People recovering stolen property
- People teaching gun safety courses
- People who are told to relinquish firearms and are transporting them to the location for relinquishment
- Licensed hunters while hunting or going to hunt
- Dog trainers during training sessions
- People with valid licenses to carry from other states
- People with expired licenses within six months who are eligible for renewals
- People who are legally authorized to transport guns between states
What are the penalties for carrying a firearm without a license?
You can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for carrying a gun without a valid license, depending on the facts of your case. You can be charged with a misdemeanor for this offense if you are caught with a firearm in your car or on your person without a license but would otherwise be eligible to receive a license as long as you did not commit any other crime at the same time.
This is a first-degree misdemeanor carrying the following potential penalties:
- From two-and-one-half years up to five years of prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
You can be charged with a felony if you are caught with a firearm in your car or on your person without a license when you are ineligible for a license or when you committed a different crime at the time you were caught carrying your firearm.
This is a third-degree felony carrying the following potential penalties:
- From three-and-one-half years up to seven years in prison
- Fine of up to $15,000
Whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you will be left with a criminal record. If you are convicted of a felony, you can suffer ongoing consequences that can seriously impact your life. Many people with felony convictions have difficulties with finding and keeping jobs and might be ineligible for housing and other types of federal and state assistance. People with felony convictions might also struggle to find places to live and have difficulties in their interpersonal relationships. If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license, you should get help from a criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA at DiCindio Law. With the help of an experienced attorney, you might be able to get a reduction in your charges or have them dismissed.
Defenses to carrying a firearm without a license
If you are facing charges of carrying a firearm without a valid license, your criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA will start by reviewing your case. Retaining a lawyer is one of the first things you should do. You should never agree to talk to the police or prosecutor without an attorney. If you do, the prosecutor can use anything that you say against you in your criminal case.
In many cases, statements defendants make might be twisted out of context and harm their cases.
Your attorney will consider different issues in your case to determine the available defenses.
Some of the potential defenses might include the following:
- The police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle or to stop you.
- The police conducted an unlawful warrantless search unsupported by an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.
- You met one of the exceptions to the law.
- Your situation did not require you to have a license.
- The gun did not meet the definition of a firearm under 18 Pa.CS 6102.
- A felony charge is unsupported, unprovable, or inappropriate.
Properly defending against the charges against you is important for protecting your freedom. Simply being charged with a crime does not mean that you will be found guilty as charged. With the help of a good defense lawyer, you could secure a better outcome than you might secure on your own.
Find a criminal defense attorney near me
If you are facing charges under the PA carry laws, you should get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. Michael DiCindio has successfully defended many people who have been charged with crimes under the Pennsylvania gun laws. Contact us today by calling 610-410-3535 to request a consultation.