A Howard County criminal defense lawyer will help you try to stay out of jail and protect your Second Amendment rights if you are charged with a gun crime. Maryland heavily restricts gun ownership, with new legislation passed in 2013 imposing some of the strictest gun-control measures in the United States. A violation of state laws regarding buying, selling, ownership, or use of weapons can have serious consequences, and you need to fight aggressively to protect your interests.
How a Howard County Gun Lawyer Can Help
There are a variety of of gun offenses in Maryland, which have consequences ranging from loss of Second Amendment rights to jail time to a permanent criminal record. An arrest, however, does not mean you will be found guilty of a gun offense or that you must admit a violation of the law. Defendants have a right to due process before being convicted of a crime, and hiring a Howard County lawyer with experience in gun offenses can help you to ensure you are effective during the investigation and trial phase of your case.
Attorneys who handle gun cases in Howard County can carefully review all aspects of the prosecutor’s case against you. Some key things your attorney will look for include whether evidence was illegally obtained and can be suppressed, or whether there are ways to raise doubts about the evidence being presented. Because prosecutors must prove a gun crimes case, there is no obligation to conclusively prove innocence on the defense side. With the help of a skilled legal team conducting a comprehensive investigation, a guilty verdict may often be avoided through the introduction of reasonable doubt.
Pre-trial motions, case investigation, and presenting a defense in trial are three key ways an attorney can help, but are not the only ways. An attorney can also provide assistance negotiating favorable plea agreements or entry into pre-trial diversion programs.
Common Gun Charges in Howard County
A violation of any of Maryland’s many laws restricting and controlling gun possession can result in criminal charges. For example, Maryland Criminal Code Section 4–203 prohibits wearing, transporting, or carrying a handgun without proper authorization. The penalty for this misdemeanor crime can include 30 days to three years imprisonment, a fine of $250 to $2,500, or both. Repeat offenders face more stringent penalties.
Under these stringent laws, even simply carrying a gun without specific authorizations and permissions can change your life. If you buy or sell weapons without following state regulations, store weapons improperly, or use a weapon in the commission of a crime, additional penalties apply which can be even more serious. An experienced Howard County gun attorney will be able to defend you in court and potentially mitigate penalties against you.
Using a handgun, shotgun, or other weapon, for example, automatically elevates a second degree assault to a first degree assault punishable under Maryland Code Section 3–202. Code Section 4–204 tacks on an additional five to 20 years imprisonment for the use of a firearm in any crime; which is a penalty that goes above and beyond any consequences faced for the underlying crime the gun was allegedly used to commit.
Contact a Gun Lawyer In Howard County For Legal Advice
It is important to know the law before you buy, carry, or use a gun, so you do not end up accidentally violating a regulation and facing criminal consequences. If you have already been charged, a Howard County gun lawyer should be consulted right away to begin the development of a strategic response.