This is the next post in our series on the handling of cases in Little Rock, Arkansas which involve firearms. Our last article discussed how a gun will impact state prosecutions. It is important to know that you may face elevated charges if you used a gun in the commission of a crime. You may also face additional counts due to gun-specific charges. If you find yourself in such a situation it is vital that you contact a criminal defense attorney to assist you. In this article we will discuss another topic – how guns can impact federal charges. If you need assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
If one uses a gun while violating a law of the United States government then they will likely find themselves facing federal criminal charges. Stiff penalties will apply under certain statutes. For example, under 18 USC 924(c), anyone who uses or carries a gun while committing a crime of violence will face an automatic five year minimum sentence if the gun was brandished (displayed to the victim), a seven year minimum sentence if the gun was discharged, and additional penalties if the gun fell into a certain category of weapons. A Judge may not issue a sentence below these minimums but has discretion to deviate from the federal sentencing guidelines when determining what the maximum sentence should be. It is important to understand that U.S. Judges tend to have little to no patience for those who use firearms while committing an offense and that the U.S. Attorney’s office aggressively pursues charges in such matters.
A defendant can also face federal charges for simply possessing a firearm if they have previously been convicted for a felony or domestic violence. Under 18 USC 922(g) it is a federal offense to knowingly possess a gun with such convictions. The penalties for this offense can be enhanced if the gun was used during the commission of another crime. It is important to understand that a defendant does not have to have owned the gun in question in order to be convicted. Simply possessing a firearm will be enough for the U.S. Attorney to file charges. Cases involving one being a felon in possession of a firearm can sometimes hinge on whether law enforcement recovered the gun through an unlawful search or seizure. It is important that you have counsel familiar with such matters.
Contact our office today if the United States Government has charged you or a loved one with a gun-related offense. Our attorneys are licensed in Federal Court and are able to assist with such matters. We take pride in the level of service we provide and we are ready to assist you. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff and throughout the rest of the state.