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Gun Possession Defense

Despite having relatively lenient gun laws, Pennsylvania still takes a tough approach to prosecuting crimes involving gun possession or other weapons, particularly in Philadelphia. Throughout the city, there are stricter restrictions on firearms than in other parts of Pennsylvania. If you’ve been arrested for a crime involving gun possession or firearms, you need a tough, knowledgeable, and experienced criminal defense attorney to handle you case.

Attorney Lauren Wimmer has handled numerous criminal cases involving weapons charges and will immediately fight to challenge evidence, the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and work to have your charges reduced or dismissed. For a free and confidential legal consultation, call (215) 712-1212 right away.

Types of Gun Charges We Handle

Philadelphia weapons charges are often called “VUFA” charges, which stands for “Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act.” The Pennsylvania gun statutes contained within the Uniform Firearms Act distinguish between several different crimes involving the unlawful possession of firearms.

Representing both adults and juveniles, Lauren Wimmer handles a wide array of weapons possession charges. Some of the most common possession-related offenses we handle include the following:

  • Carrying Firearms on Public Streets or Public Property in Philadelphia – This crime is charged under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6108. This statute prohibits people from carrying “a firearm, rifle or shotgun at any time upon the public streets or upon any public property” in Philadelphia. There are only two exceptions: people who are licensed to carry firearms, and people who are exempt from licensing (such as police officers).
  • Firearms Not to Be Carried without a License – With some exceptions, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106 makes it a crime to carry a gun on your person or in your vehicle, unless you have a valid license.
  • Persons Not to Possess, Use, Manufacture, Control, Sell or Transfer Firearms – The statute 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105 restricts certain people from using or owning guns in Pennsylvania, and makes it a crime for restricted persons to use or possess firearms. Restricted persons include anyone who was previously convicted of any of the following crimes:
    • » Aggravated Assault
    • » Arson
    • » Burglary
    • » Possession of a Weapon on School Property
    • » Involuntary Manslaughter
    • » Kidnapping
    • » Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure
    • » Murder
    • » Rape
    • » Robbery
    • » Stalking
    • » Unlawful Restraint
    • » Voluntary Manslaughter
    • » Certain Types of Theft and Criminal Trespass
  • Possession of Firearm by Minor – Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6110.1, people under the age of 18 are prohibited from possessing guns in Pennsylvania, with some exceptions.
  • Possession of Firearm with Altered Manufacturer’s Number – Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6110.2(a), “No person shall possess a firearm which has had the manufacturer’s number integral to the frame or receiver altered, changed, removed or obliterated.”

The Sentences for Gun Charges in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Can be Severe

Pennsylvania’s firearms statutes do not make any special sentencing provisions for defendants charged with gun crimes for the first time, though the penalties for transferring or selling firearms can increase for second or subsequent offenses under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(h). Even if the defendant has a clean criminal record and has never been charged with a gun crime before, he or she still risks severe penalties if found guilty. These penalties are described below.

Illegal Possession of a Firearm

Pennsylvania, like many other states, designates most criminal offenses as “misdemeanors” or “felonies.” Some crimes have the potential to be charged as either, depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense.

The penalties that can be imposed for a crime depend largely on how the offense is categorized — and the way an offense is categorized depends on the nature and severity of the crime. Criminal offenses in Pennsylvania, including VUFA charges, may receive the following designations:

  • First Degree Felony
  • Second Degree Felony
  • Third Degree Felony
  • First Degree Misdemeanor
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor
  • Third Degree Misdemeanor

Pennsylvania firearms and gun possession crimes can be charged as follows:

  • Carrying Firearms on Public Streets or Public Property in Philadelphia
    • » First Degree Misdemeanor
  • Firearms Not to Be Carried without a License
    • » First Degree Misdemeanor
    • » Third Degree Felony
  • Persons Not to Possess, Use, Manufacture, Control, Sell or Transfer Firearms
    • » Third Degree Misdemeanor
    • » First Degree Misdemeanor
    • » Second Degree Felony
    • » First Degree Felony
  • Possession of Firearm by Minor – With some exceptions for very serious crimes, minors are tried in juvenile courts and do not face the same penalties as adults. However, if a minor is found in possession of a firearm, the person who sold, provided, or delivered the gun can be charged with a third degree felony.
  • Possession of Firearm with Altered Manufacturer’s Number
    • » Second Degree Felony

The penalties for these offenses may include the following:

  • First Degree Felony
    • » Sentence – Up to 20 years
    • » Criminal Fine – Up to $25,000
  • Second Degree Felony
    • » Sentence – Up to 10 years
    • » Criminal Fine – Up to $25,000
  • Third Degree Felony
    • » Sentence – Up to 7 years
    • » Criminal Fine – Up to $15,000
  • First Degree Misdemeanor
    • » Sentence – Up to 5 years
    • » Criminal Fine – Up to $10,000
  • Third Degree Misdemeanor
    • » Sentence – Up to 1 year
    • » Criminal Fine – Up to $2,000

If you face gun possession or weapons charges in the Philadelphia area contact Wimmer Criminal Defense or call today for a free consultation at 215-712-1212.  We work for an outright dismissal, or to reduce the charges you will face as well as the associated consequences.

If You’ve Been Charged with Weapons Possession in Philadelphia

If you or someone you love has been charged with weapons possession or related offenses, contact our criminal defense team immediately for a free and confidential consultation.