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Federal Firearms Offenses

Westchester County Attorneys Handling Gun Crime Cases

Firearm possession, use, and sales are heavily regulated by law. In addition to New York state laws, gun owners and dealers are subject to federal statutes enforced by various U.S. government agencies. If you are under investigation or have been indicted on a federal firearms offense, you have the right to seek legal guidance from a qualified attorney. The Westchester County gun crime lawyers at Tilem & Associates can represent you in federal court in an effort to get a charge dropped, dismissed, or reduced. We assist people throughout the New York City area from our White Plains office.

Commonly Charged Firearms Offenses under Federal Law

Federal firearm statutes apply to people involved with the sale, purchase, or use of guns, including manufacturers, dealers, and owners. Federal law requires everyone in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing firearms or ammunition to be properly licensed. It is also a crime to make a false statement with respect to any records required for the licensing and application of firearms. Notwithstanding these laws, two of the most commonly charged firearms offenses involve unlawful possession and firearms used in the commission of a serious crime.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Some people do not have the right to possess a firearm. Under federal law, it is unlawful to possess or transport any firearm or ammunition into or out of another state or country if you:

  • Have been convicted of a felony;
  • Are a fugitive;
  • Unlawfully use or are addicted to controlled substances;
  • Have been committed to a mental institution;
  • Are in the United States unlawfully;
  • Have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  • Have renounced your citizenship;
  • Have a restraining order against you; or
  • Have been convicted of a domestic violence crime.

It is also illegal for someone to sell or give a firearm to anyone whom they should reasonably believe falls into one of the categories listed above. Crafting a defense strategy in response to a federal charge of unlawful possession involves a careful consideration of the surrounding facts in order to determine which elements of the prosecution’s case are the most vulnerable.

Possession or Use of a Firearm in Relation to a Violent Crime or Drug Trafficking

Federal firearms offenses arising out of the use or carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking are serious. In addition to the penalty received upon a conviction of the underlying crime, a defendant can also face a mandatory minimum prison sentence starting at five years and increasing with the severity of the circumstances. If the firearm is brandished or displayed during a violent crime or drug trafficking, the mandatory minimum is a seven-year prison term and, if the gun is fired, 10 years. For repeat offenders who have committed crimes involving machine guns or silencers, the sentence can increase to up to life imprisonment.

To convict a defendant on this charge, the government must prove that the use or possession of the firearm was related to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence. It is not necessary that the defendant carried the firearm during the crime. If the government establishes that another conspirator involved in the crime used or possessed the firearm, this is sufficient to prove constructive possession by the defendant. In your defense, a gun crime attorney can present evidence to rebut the prosecution’s case against you or negotiate a plea arrangement that may be more favorable.

Contact a Westchester County Defense Lawyer to Discuss a Weapons Charge

A criminal defense lawyer with experience representing people in federal court can provide vital insights regarding your case. At Tilem & Associates, our Westchester County attorneys have advocated for defendants facing state and federal weapons charges for more than 25 years. From our talented trial lawyers, you can expect reliable communication and an aggressive defense strategy. We also assist people in Queens and the Bronx, in addition to defendants in Kings, Richmond, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, and Putnam Counties. Make an appointment online or call 877-377-8666 to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney.