NYC Federal Firearms Lawyer
Federal Firearms Defense Lawyer In New York City
Although federal law contains a large number of statutes and regulations concerning the lawful ownership, possession, use, manufacture, sale, transportation, and disposal of firearms and ammunition, until recently, it was local and state police and district attorneys offices that were largely responsible for the prosecution of firearms offenses. However, with the proliferation of handguns on the streets of New York City and upticks in violence associated with such weapons, federal law enforcement and prosecutions of firearms offenses have greatly increased. Due to the far more severe sentences authorized under federal as opposed to New York State law — including mandatory minimums in certain cases — federal firearms cases are serious matters and should be treated that way.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal gun crime, it is most important that you have a seasoned, tenacious federal defense attorney on your side. One who will work tirelessly for you, to give you the best possible chance at a successful outcome. NYC federal firearms lawyer Fred Sosinsky has assisted clients in gun cases for more than 30 years. Over that time, Fred has been able to convince federal prosecutors to drop gun charges, convince judges to grant suppression of evidence in firearms cases, and spare his client’s prison sentences. And Fred has won jury verdicts in such cases. Call Fred to get started with your defense today.
Federal Firearms Charges In New York
There are a host of federal gun charges contained in the United States Code. Most frequent among them are those which make it a crime for a person to possess a firearm based upon a prior felony conviction. This is often referred to as a “felon in possession” prosecution. Also frequently charged is the crime of using, possessing, or carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence. This crime is referred to a “924(c)” charge based on the section of the federal code that contains this charge.
Illegal Possession, Receipt and Transporting of a Firearm By a Prohibited Person
A person may be charged with illegal possession of a firearm when they knowingly possess, receive, ship, or transport a firearm or ammunition which traveled in interstate commerce and when they know they are prohibited by federal law from possessing the gun or ammunition because they have previously been convicted of a felony or of domestic violence offense, has been found mentally unfit or has been committed to a mental institution, or has a restraining order against them, or is a fugitive, an undocumented immigrant, has renounced citizenship, has received a dishonorable discharge from the military or is an unlawful use or is addicted to any controlled substance.
Illegal Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person
A person may be charged with making a sale of a firearm or ammunition to a prohibited person when he or she sells or gives any firearm or ammunition which traveled in interstate commerce to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such a person is prohibited by law from possessing the gun or ammunition because they are under indictment for or have previously been convicted of a felony or of domestic violence misdemeanor, has been found mentally unfit or has been committed to a mental institution, or has a restraining order against them, or is a fugitive, is an undocumented immigrant, has renounced citizenship, has received a dishonorable discharge from the military or is an unlawful use or is addicted to any controlled substance.
False Statements Regarding Firearms’ Purchases
A person may be charged with making a false statement regarding firearms when he or she knowingly makes any false oral or written statement or representation or produces any fraudulent form of identification with regard to any record required to be completed and maintained concerning firearms including application, background checks, certification, authorization, permits, and licenses.
Illegal Importing, Manufacturing or Dealing in Firearms
A person may be charged with illegal importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms when he or she knowingly engages in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms or ammunition affecting interstate or foreign commerce without possessing a valid license to do so.
Possession or Use of a Firearm in a Violent or Drug Trafficking Crime
A person may be charged with possession or use of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence or drug trafficking crime when he or she, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime for which the person could be prosecuted in federal court, uses, carries or possesses a firearm. Federal law mandates that any conviction for this crime requires that the sentence, which must be at least five years and may be as many as twenty-five (25) in federal prison, be imposed consecutively to the sentence imposed upon conviction for the crime or crimes of violence or drug trafficking crimes that underlie the firearms charge.
There Are Defenses to Federal Firearms Charges
First, in most cases involving federal firearms charges, the defense may be able to challenge the right of the police or federal agents to have stopped and searched the accused, his or her vehicle, home, or office. If there was insufficient legal cause for the stop and search, if the search was conducted without a warrant and without valid consent, we often have been able to have all evidence recovered precluded from the introduction in court, effectively preventing the government from proving its case. Even where a warrant was obtained, the warrant may be subject to challenge if it fails to provide probable cause or contains false information.
Second, in firearms cases, it is common for the defense to contend that insufficient evidence of the accused’s possession of the firearm was presented. Thus, where there is no forensic evidence such as fingerprints or touch DNA tying the accused to the firearm, and little other proof connecting him to the gun, a successful defense may be presented.
Third, in those cases in which it is claimed that a dealer failed to obtain required paperwork from an applicant, it may be possible to show that the omission was unintentional rather than knowing. The same is true where the prosecution is premised on a sale or disposal to a prohibited person.
Sentencing For Federal Firearms Charges
As noted, federal law provides for severe sentences for those convicted of firearms offenses. A conviction for possession or sale of a firearm by or to a person who is prohibited from possessing or selling such firearm carries a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison. Unlawful importing, manufacturing or dealing in firearms is punishable by up to ten years in prison as well. Making a false statement in connection with a firearms record is likewise punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. Luckily, an experienced NYC federal firearms lawyer will be able to help you distinguish these penalties and handcraft the right defense for your specific case.
A conviction for use, possession, or carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of five years in federal prison. If the person brandished such a firearm, there is a mandatory consecutive sentence of seven years. If the person fired or discharged the firearm, there is a mandatory consecutive sentence of ten years in prison.
If the firearm was a short-barreled rifle or shotgun or a semiautomatic assault weapon, there is a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of ten years in prison. If the firearm is a machine gun or destructive device or is equipped with a silencer or muffler, there is a mandatory consecutive thirty (30) year prison sentence.
Of course, like all federal felonies, in deciding upon an appropriate sentence, a judge must first calculate and consider the sentence suggested by the federal sentencing guidelines. In cases involving firearms, the applicable guidelines will largely be a result of factors such as the type of weapon involved, the number of firearms involved, whether any of them were stolen or had their serial number defaced or removed, whether the weapon was fired, whether the firearm was possessed in connection with another felony, whether the firearm was trafficked and other similar factors. After settling on the suggested guidelines sentence, the court will entertain defense counsel and all of the mitigating evidence presented in support of a non-jail or, if not possible, minimum sentence.
Speak With An Experienced Federal Firearms Lawyer Today
Federal firearms charges are among the most serious crimes found in the federal criminal code and as discussed, often carry mandatory minimum consecutive sentencing. Prosecutors will do everything they can to convict those accused of firearms charges. You should do everything you can to make sure you are well represented. Contact NYC federal firearms defense lawyer Fred Sosinsky to fight for your freedom.