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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Chester County Gun Penalties

Gun charges in Chester County, Pennsylvania, are governed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the criminal  code set forth by the legislature. Being charged with having a firearm in violation of the Uniform Firearms Act can be a felony of the third degree. An individual who carries a firearm, either concealed on their person or inside an automobile, without a carry permit or license to carry such firearm, faces a possible three and a half to seven-year jail sentence and $15,000 fine. If you find yourself facing these charges, or suspect you may, it is essential to contact an experienced gun lawyer as soon as possible, so as to start working on building the strongest defense possible.

Long Term Consequences

Conviction for a violation of the Uniform Firearms Act is a felony of the third degree. As such, a person then has a felony record in perpetuity. This can affect everything from the person’s ability to vote all the way up to their ability to obtain employment in the future that may or may not require a license to carry a firearm.

Once the person is convicted of having a firearm without a license and the person has subsequently served their sentence, the person is forever barred from obtaining a firearm, being in the presence of a firearm, or having a firearm at their place business and their residential location.

If such person is later found to have a gun in any of those locations and is arrested, they are subject to a charge of violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, a felony of the second degree, that is a person not to possess a firearm who is unauthorized to do so and can face as much as 5 to 10 years incarceration and a $25,000 fine.

In addition to incarceration, fines, and limited employment opportunities, a conviction could lead a person’s character to be questioned repeatedly  over the years as a direct result of the criminal record, even after they have long since changed their ways. This can make it difficult to move on and put their past behind them.

Expungement

Gun charges and convictions cannot be expunged from someone’s record. For any felony in Pennsylvania, any conviction for anything above a summary offense, such as urinating in public, is not expungeable at all.

In some cases, it is possible to request a governor’s pardon. However, a governor’s pardon has a minimum waiting period of five years and, because it’s a gubernatorial pardon like a presidential pardon, it only takes place when a governor is stepping down and a new governor stepping in. It is possible, but they are very rare and expensive.

Multiple Charges

In some cases, a person can be charged with multiple offenses, among which having the firearm is simply one. For instance, should a person be charged with armed robbery, not only are they potentially facing serious consequences for the robbery itself, but the penalties are raised from a 5 to 10-year maximum prison term, because a firearm was used at the time. Distinctions are even made in Chester County on whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded. In cases where a firearm is loaded and used, the most severe penalties come into play.

Contact A Gun Lawyer Today

Because the state takes these charges very seriously, and the penalties are so significant, it is important to contact a gun lawyer immediately. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney by your side could mean the difference between decades of imprisonment alongside thousands of dollars in fines, and a lighter sentence. This is because a lawyer can work to mitigate the damages and gather evidence to build the strongest defense possible in order to achieve the most desirable results.

When seeking an attorney, an individual must understand that it is not just the lawyer, but it is the resources that come into play. The government has thousands of dollars and resources and personnel at their beck and call, and the courts have the same. Therefore, hiring the right attorney with the right source behind them only evens the playing fields. Justices at the district court level often will treat gun cases severely. For instance, bail is often set well above the guidelines as well as in most cases people are held incarcerated until the matter is completed. Thus, having the right attorney with the right resources behind them only ensures that a person remains out and free to challenge the penalties facing them and to obtain the best result possible.