Illegal firearm modifications involve any modification to a firearm that is listed as illegal under federal guidelines that have been adopted by the State of Pennsylvania. Such adoptions include silencers being placed on certain weapons, increased magazine capacities above legal limits, or any modification to a firearm that increases, its velocity, capacity, or timing.
When firearms are modified and changed from the original purpose to an illegal purpose, individuals could be arrested and face aggressive prosecution. If you were charged with illegal gun modification, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Philadelphia illegal firearm modification lawyer could fight to protect your rights both in and out of court. Call today to schedule a case review.
In order to avoid firearms that would be unlawful on the streets of Philadelphia, individuals often purchase legal firearms and make modifications to them. Some of the most common firearm modifications in the County of Philadelphia include silencers, increased magazine capacities, and flashers. When an individual makes one of these illegal modifications, the firearm is no longer considered lawfully purchased and intended for lawful uses. An individual stopped with those firearms, such as a sawed off shotgun, may be charged with possession of a weapon in violation of the Uniform Firearms Act.
Illegal firearm modifications in Philadelphia are dealt with in a similar fashion to other firearms offenses. The penalties for an illegal firearm modification are the same as the penalties for possessing a firearm without a license. If convicted, a person who was otherwise eligible for firearm ownership could face as much as three and one half to seven years’ incarceration and a $15,000 fine.
If an individual is ineligible to have a firearm because of their criminal record, they could be charged with a first- or second-degree felony. The penalty for a first-degree felony could be as high as ten to 20 years incarceration plus a $25,000 fine. A second-degree felony conviction could result in five to ten years and a $20,000 fine. If the firearms were modified, the penalties could be increased by ten to 20 years’ incarceration and a $25,000 fine per modification.
All defenses that are available when defending gun charges in Pennsylvania are also used when defending illegal firearm modification charges in the City and County of Philadelphia. A Philadelphia illegal firearm modification lawyer could use motions to suppress to challenge the probable cause for police to either recover the weapon or stop the individual from having it. Under the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1 Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, probable cause must exist before places of interest are searched and items are recovered and used against the individual.
Additionally, should the individual challenge the actual or constructive possession of a firearm at the trial level, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person had actual possession and actual knowledge that the firearm was present or on their person. In addition, they must prove all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Individuals challenging the Commonwealth’s evidence at trial may argue many different ways that are specifically consistent to their case.
In many cases, individuals could deny ownership or possession of the firearm with the right evidence behind them and also deny constructive possession of such firearm. In all cases, should a motion to suppress be granted or a trial be won, the individual would be completely vindicated of any such firearms charge.
If you were charged with illegal firearm modification or possession, you should not risk handling the case alone. Local prosecutors and judges take gun crimes seriously, and a conviction could result in years or even decades in prison. Reach out to a Philadelphia illegal firearm modification lawyer for help with your case.