Defending Gun Charges in Maryland
There are several important factors that attorneys look for when reviewing the prosecution’s case. They examine the manner in which law enforcement came into contact with a person; how they found the handgun; and whether that search was legal. There are a variety of steps necessary to gather evidence and build a defense.
Once you have been charged with a gun violation, you should contact a skilled Maryland gun lawyer. They are going to be able to walk you through the next steps and help start a defense on your behalf.
For the few select places that might entertain a diversion agreement, there is a diversion like a stet with an agreement to not prosecute the person in the case in exchange for a gun safety course or allowing that person to complete a license for the state of Maryland if they have one in other locations. When the person did not transfer things correctly to get them properly registered, there are inherent issues with that as well.
When a person has a lawyer for a gun-related charge; the most important thing is to look at is whether the gun was lawfully purchased. If it was legally purchased, does the person have a purchase receipt or the location where it was purchased? Is the gun properly registered? Is the person a license holder? The gun lawyer wants to see any documentation that shows the gun was legally purchased and is legally registered in Maryland or other places. The attorney wants to demonstrate good character by the individual and that they did not possess a firearm for any bad intent.
A criminal lawyer starts with the actual evidence and the manner in which it was collected. There may be something done by the officer that can be deemed illegal. The search itself is most important. From there the case is broken down piece by piece. If their client fully disclosed in the beginning that they had a gun in their vehicle, the lawyer may use that. Sometimes that information is well-received by the Office of the State’s Attorney and the judge if it gets that far.
For the prosecution to prove a person guilty of a gun charge, they must show there was a gun present; the gun was tested; there is a forensic report proving the ballistics were done properly; and it was a functioning proper firearm. It was not there by a gun collector or is an antique in some fashion.
There are certain things a defense attorney can question in these cases. The way the guns were found, or the way they were seized. Perhaps they are a part of a gun collection and are not an illegal possession in any way. Many antiques are not consistent with current laws in terms of what is illegal. In other cases, the gun itself was completely disassembled. There have been oddities with someone keeping pieces of ammunition. So, the proof must demonstrate that there is intent or a literal violation of the gun laws as written.
Common Defense Strategies
Suppression issues and illegal searches can be used as a defense against a gun charge. A person might be pulled over at night for illegal tinted windows. How did the officer see the tinted window in the middle of the night? Why did the officer stop the car?
There must be a good reason to stop a vehicle or come in contact with the driver. Was the person a passenger in the vehicle and unaware that there was a gun in the car? Was the driver unaware there was a gun in the care? There is no perfect case or perfect defense. A criminal lawyer must be able to manipulate the facts and apply the law. Was the vehicle stopped lawfully? If not, the lawyer takes the facts and applies them to the case.
Benefit of an Attorney
Gun laws are treated differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In other countries perhaps it is more acceptable for people to carry or a larger percentage of people can legally carry. There are jurisdictions where authorities will return the gun to a person; but there are some that will not. It depends on where a person goes. Some counties are willing to stet the matter which allows it to be expunged at a later time. There are some jurisdictions that allow the matter to be nolle prosequi and other jurisdictions with the same set of facts still try to prosecute the charges.