Washington County Gun Lawyer
The state of Maryland is known for the very harsh penalties it hands down to those who violate its firearms laws, especially those involving handguns. It is illegal to carry and/or transport a handgun in a motor vehicle without a carry permit. Most Maryland gun violations involve alleged suspects unlawfully purchasing a firearm or carrying an unregistered one in public. Committing any crime with a gun is a serious felony. Those who are accused of violating gun laws have the best chance of achieving a positive outcome when they retain a seasoned Washington County gun lawyer.
Gun Charges in Washington County
Charges range from unlawful possession to having illegal firearms, ammunition and other serious offenses. They include:
- Carrying or transporting a concealed handgun without a permit [Maryland Annotated Code Section 4-101(c)]. Conviction is punishable by a maximum of three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000 [Section 4-101(d)]. Minors convicted of this violation can also receive the same sentence (but serve the time in juvenile detention).
- Carrying or transporting a handgun on public school property [Section 4-102]. Even those who are licensed to carry a handgun may not have it with them at a school. The penalties can be from 90 days to three years’ incarceration and/or a fine of $250 to $2,500 [Section 4-203(c)(2)(ii)].
- Knowingly having, transporting, or wearing a handgun in your vehicle on any public thoroughfare or parking lot in Maryland is charged under [Section 4-203(a)(ii). The penalty is 30 days to three years imprisonment and/or a discretionary fine of between $250 and $2,500. A Washington County gun lawyer will be able to explain the several exceptions to this statute and whether you might fall into one of them.
If one is accused for any of the above violations, and has a prior a weapons-related conviction, they face an additional misdemeanor charge. It is punishable by one to 10 years in prison, which can serve as an enhancement to the underlying charge [Section 4-203(c)(3)]. But subsequent convictions for possession under the same circumstances bring a minimum of five, and up to 10, years in prison [Section 4-203(c)(4)(i)(1)].
Exceptions to all of the above violations include licensed peace officers, corrections officers, or on-duty members of the military [Section 4-203(b)(1)].
There are also certain restrictions that must be followed for a legitimate gun owner to transport a handgun:
- They must place their gun a protective box.
- It must not be easily accessible to the driver of the vehicle, usually in the trunk.
- It must be unloaded.
- The ammunition must be in a different location from the gun (not in the gun box).
Other Gun-Related Crimes
No one may use a gun (even one that isn’t working) in the commission of any violent crime or felony [Section 4-204(b)]. But using any firearm when the suspect is committing a violent offense or felony is viewed very seriously in Maryland, so it is a separate and distinct charge that is added to the underlying offense. The gun conviction is primarily viewed as a concurrent enhancement to the original prison sentence of no less than five years.
But if convicted of the same offenses a second time, the gun-violation enhancement becomes consecutive rather than concurrent. So, once the prison sentence for the primary crime is completed, the time for the gun conviction, at least a mandatory five years, is then served by the prisoner [Section 4-204(c)(1 &2)].
Illegal possession of a firearm at a public place or demonstration where onlookers are present, defined as “any public gathering from a political rally to a parade to a picket line, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by no more than a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 [Section 4-208(c)].
There are also gun charges for having assault pistols and machine guns [Sections 4-301 – 4-405] and having a bulletproof vest [Sections 4-106 and 4-107]. But these severe violations could also draw the attention of the federal government, especially if these items are being transported or are stolen [18 U.S. Code Chapter 44 and 924]. And federal gun convictions can be much more severe than state sentences.
Contact an Experienced Washington County Gun Lawyer
Any Maryland or state gun charge can bring heavy fines and prison sentences. So, it’s imperative that anyone who is charged with these offenses retain an experienced state or federal Washington County gun lawyer immediately.