DC Gun Penalties

Due to the danger associated with guns and the harm they can cause, DC takes all gun related offenses extremely seriously and imposes serious penalties on those who are convicted of such crimes. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone facing a gun crime be aware of what consequences they may be facing and consult with a DC gun lawyer as soon as possible to begin building a defense.

Range of Gun Penalties

One of the most common gun offenses in DC is carrying a pistol outside of one’s home or place of business. This common charge can come with severe consequences that can negatively impact an individual in both the short and long term and include a maximum of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. For that reason, carrying a pistol outside of home or place of business is considered a felony.

The other common firearm-related charge is the possession of an unregistered firearm. This is a misdemeanor offense that can carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail. In connection with the possession of an unregistered firearm charge, many people face the misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of ammunition. That is a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum of one year in jail.

Felony Firearm Charges

There are also gun convictions in DC that carry even harsher penalties such as possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony. The maximum sentence a person with a previous felony conviction could face if they are convicted of possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison.

A person facing that conviction also faces a mandatory minimum of one year in prison. That means that if a person is convicted of being in possession of a firearm and they have a prior felony conviction, a judge is required upon the person’s conviction for that offense to give them at least one year in prison.

Their sentence could go higher than one year, but the judge cannot give less than one year of prison time. If the prior felony is a crime of violence such as robbery, burglary, or sexual assault, that person faces a mandatory minimum three years of prison time if convicted of the subsequent gun charge. The judge cannot give less than three years in prison.

Long-Term Repercussions of Gun Charges

When someone is convicted of any kind of DC gun-related charges, they also face the possibility of being placed on probation for up to five years. This is in addition to the possibility of jail or prison time, fines, and a possibility of some combination of jail prison and fines. Probation can require the person to subject themselves to regular drug testing, frequent checking with the probation officer, and having their movements monitored. They could also be required to register as a gun offender as part of the penalties associated with their DC gun conviction.

Gun offender registration further restricts the ability of that person to own any additional guns. They must also regularly update their address or check in with Metropolitan Police Department to update any of the registration requirements. Conviction on any of these charges can have very long lasting effects because these offenses show up on background checks. This specific penalty associated with a DC gun conviction could affect a person’s employment or their ability to obtain or secure different kinds of jobs related to the government.

Having a gun-related conviction on someone’s record could prohibit them from obtaining government security clearances either directly with the government or through government contractors.

Contacting a Lawyer to Avoid Weapon-Related Penalties

In any criminal case, the most important thing is for someone to have a lawyer they feel is representing their best interest. Someone facing these charges and the severe penalties for these gun offenses wants to believe they have an excellent chance of getting the best possible result. That result may be different depending on the situation. Sometimes the best possible result is minimizing a person’s prison sentence as much possible. Sometimes it is more appropriate to fight an illegal search or an illegal traffic stop to be able to have illegally obtained evidence dismissed. Sometimes the attorney negotiates with the prosecutors to see if their client can avoid having a conviction on their record to be able to save their job.

Having a lawyer who understands their client’s situation and the potential consequences enables them to effectively advocate for their client. Skilled lawyers can give someone the confidence that they have someone who is on their side and will fight in their best interest.