Gun Charges and Weapons Offenses
Given the recent increase in gun violence across the country, prosecutors are coming down especially hard on those charged with Boston gun charges and weapons offenses. These crimes are incredibly serious, carrying the potential for a lengthy prison sentence in almost every case. In some situations, a conviction results in a mandatory minimum sentence. If the government is bringing a weapons crime against you, you need a lawyer who is ready to fight the case on all fronts. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is known throughout Boston for zealously defending clients facing all types of firearms charges and is ready to meet with you to discuss how he can help.Types of Gun Crimes
The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms. However, this right is not absolute. The government heavily regulates the possession of firearms. In Massachusetts, to legally possess any gun, you need a Firearm Identification Card (FID). And to carry a handgun, you need a License to Carry (LTC). However, obtaining an FID or LTC is a burdensome process. And even if you have a license, there are still restrictions on your ability to carry a weapon in public.
The most commonly charged gun crime in Boston is unlawfully carrying a firearm. Prosecutors bring this charge in the following situations:
- Possession of a firearm without the required license;
- Carrying a gun in a prohibited place;
- Possession of a machine gun; and
- Possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
If you are arrested for any of the above, you face a minimum sentence of 18 months in a house of corrections, with the possibility sentence as severe as five years in state prison.
However, there are dozens of other gun crimes that apply in more specific situations. For example, it is against the law to transfer a gun to someone who is not eligible to buy it themselves. This is called a straw purchase, and prosecutors take these crimes very seriously. Even for a first-time offense, a conviction for straw purchasing a firearm for another carries a sentence of up to two years in jail.
It is also a separate crime to possess or use a gun in the process of committing a felony. For example, if you were carrying a firearm during the commission of a robbery, you would face robbery charges, gun charges, and additional charges for having a gun when you allegedly committed the robbery—even if you didn’t use the gun. In this situation, the sentences will run back-to-back, rather than at the same time.Other Types of Weapons Offenses
While the most serious weapons offenses involve guns, Massachusetts law prohibits the possession of other potentially dangerous weapons. For example, it is against the law to carry a switchblade knife, double-edged knife, brass knuckles, certain throwing weapons, blowguns and blackjacks. This may come as a surprise, as many of these illegal weapons are readily available.
A conviction for the possession of a dangerous weapon can carry significant penalties. A first offense for a weapons violation carried a jail sentence of six months to 2.5 years in a house of correction or 2.5 to five years in state prison. That said, if you do not have any prior felony convictions on your record, the court does not need to impose any mandatory jail time. However, if convicted of a second offense, you will face at least five years and up to seven years of incarceration.Are You Facing a Boston Weapons Crime?
If you were recently arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm or any other gun case, the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy can help. Attorney Murphy is a committed defense lawyer with extensive experience handling all types of Boston gun charges and weapons offenses. Patrick Murphy can handle every aspect of your case, whether he is negotiating with prosecutors to avoid a mandatory minimum sentence, arguing to suppress illegally obtained evidence, or litigating your case in front of the judge or jury. To learn more, and to schedule a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy at (617) 367-0450 today.