The possession or use of certain types of firearms is a serious offense in Palmerton, Bethlehem, and Stroudsburg. If charged with a crime involving an illegal firearm, the ramifications can be serious and life-altering. As firearms and other illegal weapons are highly regulated in Pennsylvania, even the mere possession of an illegal firearm can result in serious consequences.
If you are facing charges involving an illegal firearm, it is important that you retain legal counsel immediately. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your criminal rights, and provide you with more information about laws regarding illegal firearms in Pennsylvania.
Laws Prohibiting the Possession of Certain Firearms in Pennsylvania
According to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 908: Prohibited Offensive Weapons, a person is automatically in violation of the law if he or she uses, possesses, sells, repairs, or otherwise deals in a weapon deemed to be “offensive.” An offensive weapon is defined as a weapon that is a “bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge,” and more. The possession of any offensive weapon as described above is automatically a first-degree misdemeanor in the state.
Furthermore, it is also considered illegal to conceal a firearm or other weapon:
- on your person;
- in your car;
- in your bag; or
- any other concealed places (with the exemption of your home) unless you have a valid concealed weapons permit.
The concealment of a firearm without a permit is usually a third-degree felony. Those who sell firearms illegally or without following regulations (such as the sale to a minor or the selling of a firearm to a person who is not eligible) are also in violation of the law. The possession of a firearm with an altered serial number is also a serious crime in Pennsylvania.
Finally, the last type of illegal firearm-related crime is being in possession of a firearm—any firearm, not just those on the list of offensive weapons—if you are a fugitive of the law or if you have been convicted of certain crimes, including:
- certain drug offenses;
- three or more DUIs; or
- arson, according to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 6105.
Legal Ramifications of Conviction Related to an Illegal Firearm
The crimes involving an illegal firearm often hold severe penalties in Pennsylvania. Crimes involving an offensive weapon, such as possession of an offensive weapon or repair of an offensive weapon, are first-degree misdemeanors and carry a penalty of up to five years in prison.
For those who are in violation of carrying a concealed firearm without a license, the penalty is more severe, and the third-degree felony conviction holds an incarceration time of up to seven years.
If in possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, you may face second-degree felony charges and a prison sentence of no more than 10 years. Like all crimes, the severity of the consequences will be dependent upon specific factors involved in the case, including whether or not the defendant has an existing criminal record.
Take Action to Defend Yourself Today
If you are facing charges involving an illegal firearm in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you seek legal counsel immediately. An attorney can provide you with valuable information regarding how to best defend yourself and protect your rights.