Were you recently arrested or charged with a weapons crime in West Chester, PA? Contact our law offices at (610) 430-3535 to schedule your free consultation today. An experienced West Chester weapons offenses lawyer at DiCindio Law, LLC can help you fight the charges and protect your legal rights.
Our legal team has years of experience handling complex criminal law cases like yours. Our law firm was even founded by a former prosecutor who knows how these cases are prosecuted in the state of Pennsylvania.
It’s normal to feel worried about your future and your freedom–but also important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction. If you have questions, contact us today.
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How DiCindio Law, LLC Can Help if I Was Arrested for a Weapons Offense in Chester County, PA?
Weapons charges are serious in the state of Pennsylvania. Your right to own and carry a firearm isn’t unlimited. Police officers and prosecutors punish gun charges harshly and to the fullest extent of the law.
You deserve an experienced West Chester criminal defense lawyer who will stand up for you. At DiCindio Law, LLC, we have years of experience fighting for clients like you. We’ve been recognized by Super Lawyers and maintain a perfect-10 AVVO rating. We know what it takes to build the strong, aggressive defense strategy you need.
When you hire us, you’ll have an attorney to:
- Conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of your arrest
- Analyze all prosecutorial evidence
- Hire experts and specialists as necessary to support your defense
- Negotiate behind the scenes to obtain the best deal possible in your case
- Help you understand your options and any plea bargain that’s on the table
Some lawyers push clients to accept a plea bargain to resolve gun crimes cases quickly. You won’t find that here. Our West Chester criminal defense attorneys aren’t afraid to face off against prosecutors in the courtroom.
All you have to do is call for a free consultation to get started today.
Overview of Weapons Offenses in Pennsylvania
Generally, citizens of Pennsylvania have the right to own firearms and other weapons just like in any other state. However, there are strict regulations and rules that must be followed.
You could forfeit your gun ownership rights if:
- You lied or misrepresented yourself on a gun application
- You are convicted for committing certain violent crimes or other specified offenses
- You have prior weapons offenses
- You are the subject of a protection order
- You’re arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without a valid permit
- You have been involuntarily committed
At DiCindio Law, LLC, we handle all types of weapons charges in Chester County. If you’ve been accused of committing a weapons-related offense, we highly recommend contacting an experienced West Chester weapons offense attorney who can help.
Below is a brief overview of some of the weapons offense cases our gun lawyers handle.
Carrying a Gun Without a Valid Permit
Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to carry a gun outside of your home or business without a valid license. That means it’s illegal to carry a concealed weapon on your person or in your vehicle without a concealed weapons permit.
There are, however, multiple exceptions to the rule, including exceptions for:
- Law enforcement officers
- U.S. military officials or national guard members when on-duty
- People carrying unloaded guns to target practice
- People carrying unloaded guns from their home or business to a place for repairs, sales, or appraisals
- People carrying unloaded guns to recover stolen property
- People carrying unloaded guns between one home or business to another, or to a vacation home
- People carrying unloaded guns to a gun safety course
- People carrying unloaded guns to a place where they’ve been instructed to relinquish the weapon
- Bank employees who are protecting money and valuables
- Officers and employees of the U.S. who are authorized to carry firearms
- Licensed hunters
- Dog trainers who are using the weapon to train dogs
- People with a valid concealed weapons carrying permit from another state
- People with a Pennsylvania weapons permit that has expired less than six months ago and who are eligible to have the license renewed
Carrying a gun without a valid license can be either a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. Felony charges apply if the person arrested was ineligible to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Misdemeanor charges apply if the defendant was otherwise eligible to obtain a permit but failed to do so.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Not all Pennsylvania residents have the right to own a gun.
Under state law, you can forfeit your right to own a gun or obtain a weapons permit if:
- You were convicted of certain crimes, including firearms offenses
- You have three or more DUI convictions within a five-year period
- You’re a fugitive from justice
- You’ve been convicted of certain drug-related offenses
- You have been adjudicated incompetent or involuntarily committed
- You are in the United States illegally
- You are the subject of a final protection order related to abuse or domestic violence
- You were adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for an offense that would be disqualifying if you had committed the offense as an adult
There are exceptions to these general rules. If you lose your right to own a gun, you have 60 days to sell or transfer the weapon to an eligible person. Further, you have the right to petition the court to reinstate your gun ownership rights after ten years have passed since you were released from incarceration or convicted (whichever is later).
Creation, Sale, or Repair of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes
It’s a first-degree misdemeanor to make, repair, sell or otherwise deal or possess a weapon for an unlawful purpose in Pennsylvania. This law typically applies to weapons with no lawful purpose–including bombs, grenades, machine guns, blackjacks, and other offensive weapons.
Making a Straw Purchase
In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to buy a gun for someone who can’t purchase the weapon on their own. This is known as a “straw purchase” and is a third-degree felony, punishable by seven years in prison (or 10 years if multiple weapons are involved).
What are the Penalties for Weapons Offenses in Chester County, Pennsylvania?
The penalties for weapons offenses in Pennsylvania depend on the specific facts of your case. If you’re convicted for unlawfully possessing a gun after committing certain crimes, you can be charged with a second-degree felony.
If you’re charged with failing to relinquish a weapon in accordance with a protection order, you can face second-degree misdemeanor charges. If you restore the weapon to the person subject to the protection order, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The stakes are high anytime you’re facing criminal charges. If you’re charged with a weapons offense in Pennsylvania, you could face:
- Jail time
- Financial penalties
- Further restrictions on your right to own or carry weapons
- Difficulty finding housing or employment
- Difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
- A permanent criminal record
The amount of jail time you might face depends on the exact charge. Under sentencing guidelines in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you could be punished with:
- Third-degree misdemeanor: up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor: up to two years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanor: between two and a half and five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony: between three and a half years and seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony: up to ten years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
Police and prosecutors in Pennsylvania are serious about gun control laws. If you’ve been arrested on charges involving a firearm or other weapon, don’t hesitate to get legal advice today. Call our law firm to schedule a free case review with a lawyer in West Chester today.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of a Weapons Offense?
Never talk to the police or prosecutors without first consulting an attorney. Even if you think you’re innocent, it’s possible that the prosecution could twist your statements to prove that you’re guilty.
Your defense could include any one or more of the following:
- Police lacked probable cause to search your vehicle or person
- Illegal search and seizure in your home or vehicle without a valid warrant
- You qualify for an exception under Pennsylvania weapons laws
- The prosecution lacks evidence to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt
- The weapon was not really in your actual or constructive possession
Sometimes prosecutors charge defendants with a crime that’s more serious than called for. Our lawyers know these tactics well. We’re skilled in negotiating behind the scenes to have your charges downgraded or dismissed if possible. If there’s a valid defense in your case, you can count on us to use it to your advantage.
Are you ready to learn more? Call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a West Chester Weapons Offenses Lawyer
Are you worried about your freedom after a weapons-related arrest in Chester County, West Chester, or Montgomery County? Call an experienced West Chester weapons offenses lawyer at DiCindio Law, LLC for a free initial consultation today. We’ll do everything possible to aggressively defend your legal rights and help you understand your options.