Protecting Those Exercising the Second Amendment
Maryland has been a key battleground in the national debate on gun control being waged across the U.S. A recent decision (.pdf) by a federal judge found that a controversial new gun control law recently enacted in Maryland requiring those living in the state to “show good and substantial reason” to obtain a permit so that they could lawfully carry a gun outside of their home was an unconstitutional infringement on the Second Amendment rights of citizens. This standard essentially limited the ability to obtain a license to carry a gun outside one’s residence to those with potentially dangerous jobs so that citizens were denied the right to carry a gun for personal protection.
While the law had been ruled unconstitutional, the Maryland attorney general’s office appealed the decision, and a federal judge reversed the decision even more recently. This demonstrates that Maryland is one of the toughest states in the U.S. in terms of restrictions and the punishments imposed for firearm offenses. Our experienced Maryland gun charge lawyers provide diligent defense of our clients’ constitutional and statutory rights when seeking to prevent conviction for a firearm charge or other weapons offense. We conduct a careful investigation of the facts so that we can identify deficiencies in the prosecutor’s case or police violations of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures. If our gun crime defense attorneys are obtained promptly, we diligently protect our clients’ interest during interrogations so that they do not make unnecessary incriminating statements. We are zealous and committed to obtaining the best outcome for our clients whether it is a dismissal, acquittal or favorable plea agreement.
Maryland Gun Possession Charges [Maryland State Code ß 4-203]
The vast majority of those charged with gun possession in Maryland are arrested with an unlawfully purchased firearm or a gun that is unregistered. The mere fact that the gun was not purchased lawfully does not mean anything about the intentions of the gun owner as 4 out of every 5 gun purchases are unlawful according to data from the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Maryland law makes it a criminal offense to carry, wear or transport a handgun without required permits whether in the open carry or concealed. While there are certain occupational exceptions, they are limited to peace officers, correctional officers or member of the military that are on-duty. The state’s gun possession law does not apply when you are inside your apartment or residence. Even if a gun is not registered, you are not committing an offense if you are inside the confines of where you reside without a permit.
If you do not fall within one of the occupations above, you must have a valid permit or establish that you are transporting the handgun for legitimate purposes, such as to sell or repair the gun. Because the law also permits you to have a gun in your business establishment, you may also carry or transport the gun to your business or for use on a shooting range. However, lawfully transporting a gun for these purposes requires that the gun be placed in a protective box that is not immediately accessible to the driver of the vehicle. When transporting a firearm, you should keep the gun unloaded with the ammunition in a different location than the gun (i.e. not in the gun box).
Even if you are arrested in possession of a gun that was purchased legally, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense if you wear, carry or transport an unregistered gun without the proper permits. A conviction will carry a penalty from three months in county jail to three years in the state penitentiary and a fine ranging from $250 to $2,500. There are more severe penalties based on the specific circumstances surrounding the offense, which include:
Crimes Committed with a Handgun in Maryland
If you are convicted of using a gun during the commission of a crime in Maryland, you face exposure to a long term of incarceration which includes a mandatory minimum. When you are arrested with a handgun during the commission of a crime, you face a sentence of 5 to 30 years in state prison. This charge will typically be filed along with the underlying offense. The court must impose at least the minimum 5 year sentence, and you are not eligible for parole before you have served the minimum. Further, both the sentence for the gun and the underlying offense must be served consecutively. The harsh consequences for this offense are obvious when you calculate your exposure for committing an armed robbery while using a gun. The maximum sentence for robbery is thirty years so you could face up to fifty years in the penitentiary.
Our Maryland gun crimes attorneys at The Law Offices of Gary H. Gerstenfield, P.C. tenaciously defend our clients that face the serious consequences of a gun charge. Sometimes guns are confiscated during a stop and frisk on the street where the officer lacks sufficient basis for the stop, or an officer pulls over a vehicle and claims a gun was in plain view in the vehicle when it was hidden. Our Maryland criminal defense attorneys may seek to suppress the gun when it is obtained through an unlawful search. We provide effective defense to the full range of gun offenses, including but not limited to the following:
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
We invite you to visit us in our centrally located Silver Springs law offices to learn how we can help you. Our gun charge attorneys at The Law Offices of Gary H. Gerstenfield can even meet with you on weekends or evenings and return calls 24 hours/7 days per week. Call us today at (301) 589-9500 or complete the online form to arrange a free consultation so that we can assess your claim and explain your rights and options.