Prosecution of Somerset Gun Offenses
Gun offenses are taken seriously in Maryland. While a person’s right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution, there are also laws in place to protect those wielding guns and the people around them. Due to the dangerous nature of firearms and the responsibility that comes with wielding them, the prosecution of Somerset gun offenses can be especially severe. If you have been charged with a gun offense, you should reach out to a knowledgeable gun attorney. Your lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to rebutting the prosecution’s arguments and building a solid case for you.
Gun Offense Prosecution Process
Many counties, especially the counties down on the lower eastern shore, have established procedures that they use within their office. For example, in Wicomico County and in Worcester County, in both prosecutor’s offices, they basically follow the policy that if the person is charged with a gun case, even if it is a misdemeanor, they will actually file a criminal information and have the case brought over to circuit court. The prosecution can do that because of concurrent jurisdiction. Depending on the length of the penalty, that case could either be heard in district court or in circuit court.
Location of the Trial and How That Can Impact the Case
The location of the trial depends on the actual charge itself because some criminal laws that relate to guns are misdemeanors and they would be heard in district court. Some criminal laws that relate to guns are felonies and are going end up reverting to the circuit court, which is the court that handles felonies.
During the prosecution of Somerset gun offenses prosecutors like to bring all those gun cases over to circuit because usually, they are going to be able to get a much larger sentence than in district court. Also, it prevents them from potentially having to try the case in district court and then having to try it again in circuit court if the person were to choose to appeal.
If a person does not like the outcome of their case in district court, they can actually appeal it and get a brand new trial in circuit court. If prosecutors go ahead and just bring the case to circuit court, it eliminates that appeal issue.
Role of Constructive Possession in Somerset Gun Cases
One of the important elements when discussing the prosecution of Somerset gun offenses is whether or not the defendant actually possessed the gun. A person can be convicted of directly possessing something and they also can be convicted under the theory of constructive possession. Constructive possession means that the item or in this case the gun, while not in a person’s direct possession, is an area in which that person exercises dominion and control. It is an area that the person knows about and it is in a place where the person can exercise some sort of authority.
For example, if a gun was located in the center console of a person’s car there is a strong assumption that the vehicle’s owner has knowledge of it and is responsible for everything found in the vehicle. That assumption might be strengthened if the owner is driving and the gun is located right beside them in the center console. However, if the person is a passenger in the rear seat and the evidence shows that they just got into the car 30 seconds before it was pulled over by the police, it is not a strong case to argue constructive possession. That is a very weak set of facts. Possession is definitely a highly contested issue during the prosecution of gun cases. If an individual wants to know more about how gun offenses are prosecuted and how they can defend themselves, they should consult a skilled gun attorney that could answer their questions and protect their rights.