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Philadelphia Firearms Attorney on Gun Charges During COVID-19


4/30/2020

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced new policies for arrests as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Stay-at-Home order continues to remain in effect and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division remains closed to the public. These policies include the delay of arrests for many nonviolent offenses that occur within the City of Philadelphia. NBC Philadelphia reported that arrests will be made: “pursuant to an Arrest Warrant, which will be served at a later date. The change in protocol means anyone accused of a nonviolent offense who would normally be arrested and processed at a detective division will now be temporarily detained for the purpose of confirming their identity and the completion of required paperwork. They’ll then be arrested at a later date.” 

The arrest policy has not changed for violent crimes like homicide, robbery, aggravated assault and those involving weapons offenses. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that since Mayor Jim Kenney closed schools and nonessential businesses, 135 people have been shot, an average of more than four per day. If you are arrested and charged with violent crimes, you will be detained, processed, and arraigned via video from the basement of the Criminal Justice Center. If you are entitled to bail, a nominal amount will be set, and you will be required to post that amount unless you are unable to pay or are held on a state or county detainer. Having an experienced defense attorney get involved in your case at this early stage will mean the difference between sitting in the county jail or being able to fight your case from the street.

If you are arrested in Philadelphia and charged with weapons offenses, you will often be charged with Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act or VUFA. VUFA charges are one of the most common charges filed in Philly due to high rate of gun possession and incidents involving firearms. If you do not have a permit or a valid license to carry in Pennsylvania, you will most likely be charged with VUFA 6106 and VUFA 6108. If you have a prior conviction, you may be charged with VUFA 6105.

VUFA 6105 is charged where a person who has been convicted of one of the specific offenses outlined in the statute in Pennsylvania or in another state and provides that the person shall not possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture or obtain a license to possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture a firearm in this Commonwealth. 

VUFA 6106 is charged where the person is alleged to have been carrying the firearm in Philadelphia without a license. The statute provides that any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree. 

VUFA 6108 is charged where the person is alleged to have been carrying a firearm on a public street or public property in Philadelphia and the person does not have a license to carry a firearm. For example, if you were arrested and charged for a crime that occurred with a gun on a sidewalk, you will be charged with VUFA 6108. However, if you were charged with a shooting that occurred inside of a residence, you will not be charged under this section.

Lauren A. Wimmer has experience defending firearms and weapons charges in Pennsylvania state courts and federal court. If you were arrested for charges involving a gun or multiple weapons at the state or federal level, contact us at (215) 712-1212 for a free consultation to discuss your case.