Montgomery County Gun Investigations
A person in possession of a handgun can be a danger to themselves and to the community around them. When a person is in possession of a gun, there are other criminal acts take place such as possession of drugs or intent to distribute drugs, that can make the situation even more serious. When drugs are used to facilitate other crimes, that creates an even bigger problem. That is why Montgomery County gun investigations are taken so seriously. An experienced gun lawyer understands the severity of these offenses and could build a solid defense for you.
Steps Police Officers Take in Gun Investigations
The first thing law enforcement officers do in Montgomery County gun investigations is to determine whether the person is in possession of a firearm and to what capacity they are in possession of the firearm.
Gun possession is not illegal in Maryland when the gun owner is in compliance with the rules and regulations for owning and properly storing the gun. When a person is a proper owner of the gun but does not store it properly or transport it properly within the confines of Maryland law, they are in violation of a gun-related statute.
Prohibited Persons in Gun Investigations
The second question that officers usually investigate is whether the person is effectively prohibited, or a prohibited person that is not permitted to own or possess a handgun under any circumstances. Often, that is related to the person’s criminal history.
Officers conduct different evaluations when determining whether to charge a person. Often, those evaluations are incomplete or inappropriately conducted. A skilled defense attorney can find opportunities to have charges dismissed or reduced on behalf of their client.
How Will Someone Know That They are Under Investigation?
When someone is under investigation for a gun charge, it is clear that they are under investigation because they are found to be in possession of something by an officer and the investigation is conducted right in front of them. When there is a long and drawn out investigation, it might involve an officer originally meeting a person but it is unclear or unsure of whether the person is in violation of a gun statute or has a prohibited crime on their record. If a person interacts with a police officer for a gun-related issue or they suspect they are under investigation, they should reach out to an attorney immediately to dissect exactly what clues they believe exist. The attorney can initiate a conversation with authorities on their client’s behalf if appropriate.
Legal Grounds for Searching a Car
Officers can search a person’s car for guns during Montgomery County gun investigations, only when they have probable cause to do so. To begin with, the officer first must establish a reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the person’s vehicle. The initial stop is usually for a traffic violation such as speeding, failing to signal, or something similar. The officer may see clues after the stop that establish probable cause to search a vehicle, or they receive consent from a person to search the vehicle. If the officer finds guns or other things that are illegal inside the vehicle, that might prompt them to file criminal charges against the individual.
When Can Montgomery County Police Officers Inspect Someone to see if They Possess a Firearm?
Police officers can inspect the person to see if there is a firearm. That happens in a few ways:
- The police officer has a warrant to do so
- The person is placed under arrest for something and a search incident to the arrest reveals a firearm
- The person is in possession of a firearm in their premises and there is a consent to search the premises or the officers have established probable cause for a warrantless search
Sentiment Toward Gun Offenses and How it Impacts Investigations
In Montgomery County and anywhere, especially with recent mass shootings, the sentiment regarding guns is that they are inherently dangerous. Even though there is a right to own and possess a gun, Maryland is adamant that there should be responsible gun ownership. When officers find someone in possession of a handgun, they take it most seriously. Prosecutor’s offices and courts handle those situations seriously as well. Gun cases are not just about the guns themselves, which is why Montgomery County gun investigations are taken so seriously. A local gun attorney may be aware of local sentiment surrounding gun offenses and could defend an individual against the charges they face.