Be aware that receiving a weapons’ charge in Boston or anywhere in Massachusetts is a serious offense. Possession of a weapon, either on your person or in your vehicle, and not having a valid license or any other specific legal permits to carry it can result in a weapons charge. You can, however, have a weapon in your private residence or your place of business. The Massachusetts law does protect your constitutional right to bear arms, but only using specific legal dictums. The violation of the Massachusetts weapons laws is applied both to loaded and un-loaded weapons alike. This is where a Boston weapons crimes law firm can help.
The Boston (and all of Massachusetts) law will demand a mandatory minimum of two and a half years in state prison or 18 months in a correctional facility. The Massachusetts statute also does not allow parole for anyone convicted of this offense until at least 18 months of the sentence is served. If this is your 2nd offense, the mandatory minimum sentence increases to five years and 3rd offenses to seven years. Any weapon you have that is involved in the arrest and charge is automatically forfeited to the Commonwealth.
Also be aware that if you own certain specifically dangerous weapons, such as a sawed-off shotgun or a fully automatic weapon, you can receive a life term in a Massachusetts state prison.
Due to the dire nature of this offense, you should consult or retain a Boston weapons crimes attorney as soon as you are able. He or she will go over all the details of your arrest, when and where it occurred, and will compile the most professional defense possible. Meeting with your criminal defense lawyer quickly could save you from extremely harsh penalties and fines.
What Is the “Illegal Carrying of Weapons?”
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that each citizen has the right to bear arms, but each state reserves the right to regulate the use and ownership of such weapons.
Given the extreme public harm that an illegal firearm can do, law enforcement officials and prosecutors take gun violations very seriously and will usually punish them to the full extent of the law.
You could be charged as possessing an illegal weapon if one of the following applies:
- You do not have the required firearm license
- You are not in your private residence or place of business
- You own an illegal weapon, such as a fully automatic weapon (machine gun), sawed-off shotgun, and even knives, stilettos, kung fu sticks, etc.
Even if you are in your residence or place of business, your weapon must be legally licensed or permitted. This includes long-guns, pistols, and shotguns, and without the legal licenses, you could be facing two years in jail.
Carrying a shotgun, or long-gun, in public is also further abuse of the weapons laws. A public way is defined as a street, sidewalk, or any other public ground. In this case, if the weapon is loaded, you may face up to two years imprisonment and high fines. If your weapon is considered a “large-capacity weapon,” however, you could face up to 10 years imprisonment and a minimum of a one-year sentence.
Other types of violations of the Massachusetts weapons laws that can seriously affect your punishment are:
- Carrying a loaded firearm while drunk or otherwise impaired (drugs). With this charge, even having a permit for the firearm won’t usually protect you. You could receive up to two and a half years in prison and fines.
- Possession of a firearm while committing a felony also may multiply your legal consequences. If you use a firearm while committing a felony, this will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment. If the weapon is defined as “large-capacity,” the minimum sentence you could receive is 10 years imprisonment. Any weapons charge you receive would be added to whatever sentence you receive on the underlying felony.
- The illegal discharging of a weapon is also considered a weapons charge. If you illegally discharged a firearm within 500 ft. of a dwelling without the owner’s permission, you could face an illegal weapons charge. This alone could get you three months imprisonment with a conviction of illegal discharge of weapons and substantial fines.
In most any charge you face, whether it’s a stand-alone illegal weapons charge or complicated by other crimes, a weapons charge will almost always make the jail time and fines you may face, worse. Your best defense is having a Boston weapons crime attorney helping you to fight your gun charge by your side from the beginning of your case.
What Are Some Defenses Against a Weapons Charge in Massachusetts?
In most states, as well as in in today’s legal climate, some weapons laws are the same, but many states differ. Also, these laws are changed (added to or made more firm) all the time.
For example, it is now legal in Massachusetts to buy, use, or carry a Taser or other type of stun gun, but you’ll need a firearms license. The legal defenses that may help you fight a weapons charge are many and varied. They all depend, however, on the specific circumstances and details of your case.
As examples, some possible defenses your criminal defense attorney may use are:
- Constitutional attacks on the authority the police had to make an arrest, search a vehicle, order you from the car, or search your house
- Using a motion to attack the basis of the police to search your person or conduct a pat frisk
- Proving your lack of possession of the firearm
- Attacking the Massachusetts evidence regarding the ability of a firearm to discharge a bullet, including any ballistics evidence.
If you are facing a gun charge, you and your lawyer will most likely have a few evidentiary hearings before your trial. Hiring a Boston criminal defense attorney, especially a firm dealing in weapons crime, will help you navigate this legal maze. Your skilled criminal weapons lawyers will argue motions and professionally argue your case to the courts and the jury.