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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Understanding Philadelphia Gun Charges

If you were charged with a firearm-related offense, seek the services of an experienced attorney. Understanding Philadelphia gun charges can be difficult since these offenses are treated differently than in the rest of the Commonwealth. However, a dedicated criminal defense lawyer could fully explain your charges and the potential consequences of a conviction.

Philadelphia Ordinances Require Carry Permits

The local Philadelphia ordinances require that all individuals carrying a firearm within the City and County limits of Philadelphia have an appropriate license to carry such firearm. While carrying licenses are not always required in the rest of the Commonwealth as long as firearms are not concealed, in Philadelphia a license is required at all times, regardless of whether such items are concealed on or about the vehicle or person.

In all cases, an individual in possession of a firearm must have a license to carry if the firearm is outside of their place of abode or business. In cases where homes or private businesses are involved, firearms may be transported according to the rules of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between a person’s purchasing location and home or place of employment. However, a firearm may not be carried in a vehicle or concealed on a person if the individual does not have a license to carry. A violation could lead to an arrest and/or conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree up to a felony of the third degree.

Firearm Offenses Compared to Other Weapons Violations

When dealing with violent crimes throughout the entire United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City and County of Philadelphia specifically, firearms are among the most serious of all weapons charges. Firearms are deadly and often cause a threat of harm much higher than other weapons. When comparing a firearm to a baseball bat or a knife, the firearm is treated in a much harsher fashion.

When individuals commit a crime and use an unlawful firearm, they are going to face an additional felony of the third degree or higher with an additional sentence of three and a half to seven years’ incarceration on top of whatever other assaultive behavior they are charged with. Firearms are graded the highest and treated in the most serious way, far above other weapons in the City and County of Philadelphia.

Penalties for Gun Offenses in Philadelphia

The potential penalties for gun offenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are a serious offense to have on a person’s record. In Philadelphia, these convictions could be even more damaging. Crimes that are characterized as violations of the Uniform Firearms Act are misdemeanors of the first degree throughout Pennsylvania, but in Philadelphia, they are often categorized as felonies of the third degree. This is because Philadelphia has local ordinances and is a city of the first class, making it much stricter to have a firearm within the city.

Individuals convicted of carrying a firearm on the streets of Philadelphia without a license could face a conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is a maximum two and one-half to five years’ incarceration and $5,000 fine. Additionally, individuals who carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle or on their person in Philadelphia could face a felony conviction of the third degree. The stakes become even higher for individuals with a concealed firearm and no license to carry. In those cases, an individual could face as much as three and one-half to seven years’ incarceration and $15,000 fine.

Individuals who are convicted felons or otherwise ineligible to have firearms could be charged with higher degrees for having a firearm. Individuals who face a conviction for felony two or felony one, unauthorized person who has have a firearm in the City and County of Philadelphia, could face as much as five to ten years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

How Prosecutors Handle Gun Offenses

Prosecutors treat gun offenses in major metropolitan areas, including the City and County of Philadelphia, with a degree of severity often higher than those in the surrounding suburbs. A crime involving firearms is not tolerated in the City and County of Philadelphia, and courts and prosecutors often request and order maximum jail sentences, even for first-time offenders.

Without the proper training and licensing to carry, a firearm conviction could be devastating for an individual. If a person is going to have a firearm in the City and County of Philadelphia, that firearm should be purchased legally, all documents kept, and that person should obtain a license to carry to avoid any miscommunicated prosecution at a later time. Additionally, if a person has a prior record or has been treated for any mental health, drug, or alcohol abuse problems, they should not have a firearm in Philadelphia. They would be ineligible to have such firearm, and a conviction could add greater periods of incarceration, supervision, and fines.

Reach Out to a Philadelphia Gun Attorney

If you were charged with a gun offense, you could benefit from the services of a dedicated gun attorney. A seasoned defense lawyer has the understanding of Philadelphia gun charges needed to fight for a favorable resolution to your case. They could protect your rights and stand by your side all the way through the trial process, if necessary.