Washington DC Gun Lawyer
Gun possession laws are some of the strictest in the country. Even for people who have permits to own and carry firearms in other states, often those permits are not legal once they cross into the District’s territory. Gun possession laws are complex and can be confusing even for gun owners who think they are carrying their firearms responsibly. This makes it easy for people to unwittingly break gun possession laws in Washington, DC. If you are facing a gun possession charge in the District of Columbia, a skilled Washington, DC gun lawyer can help guide you through the complexities of the legal system. Here is some basic information you should know as you begin your defense.
Gun Charges in Washington, DC
There are myriad gun offenses that a person can be charged with in the District of Columbia. Carrying a pistol without a license (CPWOL) is the most serious offense that may be charged, and is codified under Section 22-4503 of the DC Code. To be found guilty of this offense, the government must prove a person knowingly and intentionally carried a pistol openly or concealed about his/her person, that the pistol was operable or appeared to be operable, that the person was not licensed to carry the pistol, and that the pistol was carried in a place outside the person’s home, place of business, or land or property controlled by the person. A “pistol” is defined as a firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches in length. A “firearm” is defined as a weapon that will expel a bullet by means of an explosive. CPWOL carries a potential prison sentence of five years and/or a $5,000 fine.
The elements of the offense of possession of an unregistered firearm in Washington, DC are: (1) the defendant knew that he or she possessed the object; (2) the defendant knew the object was a firearm; (3) the firearm was capable of operating as designed, and (4) the firearm was not registered to the defendant. The control of the accused over the weapon in question must exist at the same time as the intent to exercise that power, and the duration of the defendant’s control of the firearm is irrelevant. The possession of the firearm can either be actual or constructive. To establish constructive possession in Washington, DC, the state is required to prove that: (1) the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the firearm; and (2) the defendant intended to exercise control over the firearm.
DC also has laws against the possession of unregistered ammunition and concealed carry of a firearm (Section 22-4504). Due to the severity and the complexity of the laws surrounding gun possession in Washington, DC, if you are charged with a gun-related crime you should seek counsel from an attorney with a proven record of success defending DC gun charges.
Defending Gun Charges in Washington, DC
In an attempt to either have your case dismissed or minimize the penalties you face as a result of being charged with a gun possession offense, a defense attorney will try to disprove the prosecutor’s theories. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed every aspect of the offense. If even one element of the carrying a pistol without a license charge is disproven by a defense attorney, the defendant may not be convicted.
If you have been charged with a gun possession offense in the District of Columbia, experienced Washington, DC gun lawyer David Benowitz can protect you against the severe penalties that accompany a conviction. David Benowitz has extensive experience defending people who have been accused of gun charges and he will fight to protect you in a court of law. Call his Washington, DC law office today for a free consultation of you case.