Federal weapons charges encompass a broad variety of federal crimes. Depending on a handful of circumstances, each type of Federal weapons charge can have some of its penalties heightened or mitigated. Some of these altering factors include the criminal status of the person accused of the weapons charge, as well as whether they are permitted to possess specific kinds of weapons. With the growing rate of frequency for this type of crime, the federal government is becoming more vigilant and aggressive in its prosecution. If you or someone you know has been accused of a federal weapons charge, it is vitally important that they obtain professional legal assistance to combat these charges.
Federal prosecutors are increasingly eager to prosecute and convict individuals accused of weapons-related crimes. The legal team at The Gonzalez Law Group has years of experience working with clients who have been charged with weapon-related crimes. If you have been accused of a federal weapons charge, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.
Overview of Federal Weapons Charge
What is a Federal Weapons Charge?
When discussing federal weapons charges, it is helpful to consider the many varying circumstances that can amount to that kind of charge. Anything from selling or receiving a dangerous weapon or firearm across state lines without the proper documentation to committing a violent federal crime (assault, robbery, etc.) can result in a federal weapons charge being levied against you. One of the hallmarks of federal criminal law involves interstate commerce. Laws that are violated in only one location with nothing related to any other state or interstate interaction are often prosecuted as state crimes.
When the federal government steps in, it could imply persecution by federal prosecutors. Although the legal definition of “weapon” can be practically anything that has the potential and is wielded with the direct intent to inflict harm on another person, the vast majority of weapons charges are firearms-related.
Below is a list of some of the most common firearms-related federal weapons charges:
- Fraud – Using false information to obtain a permit to purchase a weapon.
- Illegal Possession – Owning a firearm without the proper permits/authorization
- Using a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony – If one is caught using a firearm during the process of committing a violent crime or drug-related crime, you can be charged with this additional charge on top of the one for the other crime.
- Weapons Trafficking – Selling, Buying, or otherwise shipping weapons across state lines or out of the country without the proper certification and permittance.
What Are the Penalties for Federal Weapons Charges?
Depending on the exact circumstances, the penalties for different federal weapons charges will have a wide range of potential punishments. These are the guidelines for the penalties of the crimes listed as established by (18 U.S.C. § 922-924):
- 1-5 years in prison, and a fine up to $250,000.
- Without any violent or drug-related prior convictions, a prison sentence of 1-2 years is expected.
- If you have a prior history of drug-related or violent crimes, the penalty can increase between 10-15 years upwards to life imprisonment. A fine up to $250,000 can also be levied against you.
Using a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
- Without a weapon having been brandished or discharged, the standard prison sentence begins at an additional 5 years tacked onto the penalty for the other felony.
- If the weapon was brandished during the process of committing the felony, the sentence is no less than 7 years tacked on. If the weapon was fired, it is no less than 10 years.
- If the weapon in question was a short-barrel rifle or shotgun, the sentence is no less than 10 years tacked on.
- If the weapon was a machine gun, destructive device, or possessed a silencer, the sentence is no less than 30 years.
- Second or Subsequent Offense carries a sentence of no less than 25 years tacked on.
- If the second or subsequent offense was carried out with a machine gun, destructive device, or a silencer, the sentence is no less than life imprisonment.
Summary of Federal Firearms Laws– This document is a summary of all of the laws and penalties involving federal firearms. It is a useful guide to understanding what exactly the crime you have been accused of actually means, as well as a helpful primer on the distinctive details that make one crime different when compared to another.
The Cornell Law US Code Title 18– This link grants you access to the US legal code you where you can read about section related to criminal law and firearms. You have the actual laws about firearms officiated by the U.S federal government.
Federal Weapons Charge Attorney in Houston, TX
The skilled criminal defense attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group are devoted to helping their clients achieve favorable results. When you come in for a consultation, you can be assured you’ll be in the right hands. Our legal counsel knows transparency is important for you. We pride ourselves in keeping constant communication and updating them on case results. Call our firm today at (832) 530-4070 to schedule a free consultation with no strings attached.