Need an attorney for a federal firearms case? Contact our Chicago criminal defense lawyers today at (312) 466-9466.
There are a wide variety of Federal firearms offenses, and they are very often the most serious charges a person can face, with extremely high punishments. For example, a person convicted of carrying or using a firearm during commission of a crime of violence or drug offense faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and a consecutive sentence of 25 years for each additional count. Therefore, a person charged with selling drugs while possessing a firearm on two occasions is looking at a 30 year minimum sentence.
Other firearms offenses include making a false statement to acquire a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a machine gun or silencer, or carrying or using a firearm during commission of a crime of violence or drug offense. Steven R. Hunter has defended these types of charges many times, and has the experience necessary to help you if you or a loved one has been charged with a federal firearms offense. .
To convict a person of being a felon in possession of a firearm the prosecution must prove (1) that the defendant is a convicted felon; (2) that he or she possessed a firearm; and (3) the firearm traveled in or affected interstate commerce. Courts have taken an extremely broad view of the last element, and a gun manufactured in another state will undoubtedly qualify. To prove possession, the government must show that the firearm was in his immediate possession or control. See United States v. Hayes, 919 F.2d 1262, 1264-65 (7th cir. 1990). Even momentary possession will qualify, and the possession can be actual or constructive.
Some of the defenses include argue lack of possession due to lack of knowledge, lack of control, or mere proximity. It is possible to argue that the prosecution failed to establish that the person with the felony conviction and the person on trial are the same. In United States v. Allen, 383 F.3d 644 (7th Cir. 2004), the prosecution presented a certified copy of conviction in the defendant's name, David Allen, but no evidence to establish that the defendant was the person named in the document. The court of appeals reversed the conviction. This is unlikely to work in every case because the prosecution could have introduced testimony identifying the defendant, or other identifiers suggesting it was unlikely that there were two different David Allen's involved.
To find out if you have a possible defense against Federal firearms charges, call today to schedule an office consultation with Steven R. Hunter. He has the experience and expertise to defend your Federal firearms case.