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July 17, 2017Will My Charges In Pennsylvania Affect My Gun Rights?
By Brian Manchester
Many different convictions in Pennsylvania will affect your ability to purchase, own, and possess firearms. Most people when they are facing criminal charges are worried about the immediate consequences such as how much is this going to cost me, how long will I have to go to jail, or how long will I be on supervision. Not everyone thinks about the secondary effects of a criminal conviction such a will this conviction affect my immigration status, does this conviction have a license suspension, or will this conviction affect my right to purchase, own, or possess firearms. These secondary consequences are called collateral consequences and not every attorney will be aware of them or know how your particular case will be affected by them.
If you are a hunter, gun collector, or even just enjoy going out to the range every now and then; a conviction in Pennsylvania even to some misdemeanor offenses can result in a lifetime ban on your gun rights. Pennsylvania statute 18 Pa CSA 6105 goes through the offenses that would result in losing your gun rights and that list is long. Some of the Offenses included are: felony offenses all the way down to a drug conviction in which the sentence could have been longer than two years, even Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions, if you have convicted of three or more within a five year period. Also included are individuals with active Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and numerous Juvenile convictions.
So far I have only discussed the Pennsylvania restrictions; there are also Federal restrictions on your gun rights when you have been convicted. The Federal Firearms Act states any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year will not be allowed to purchase, own, or possess firearms. For crimes in Pennsylvania this means all felonies and misdemeanors of the first degree. However even if you did not receive a sentence where the maximum punishment was over two years does not mean that you were not subject to a possible sentence of incarceration exceeding one year. Meaning that your gun rights depend on what you could have been sentenced to in Pennsylvania not what you were actually sentenced to.
Do not be surprised when it comes to a collateral consequence of a criminal conviction. Especially when it is dealing with your gun rights, losing your gun rights can be devastating if you are required to carry for your employment, or even if you just enjoy hunting or target shooting. Going into a case without the right representation can have disastrous consequences beyond the immediate penalties of jail, supervision, or fines.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.
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June 30, 2017Why Was I Charged With A Felony For A Mistake On My PA Gun Application?
By Brian Manchester
More and more we are seeing people being charged with Felonies where the police are claiming that they were intentionally or knowingly providing false information on an application for a firearm. In addition to this they are charged with a misdemeanor for Unsworn Falsification to Authorities. Most of the mistakes that occur on these applications stem from the Federal Law language that does not always translate properly to PA state laws.
Prior Criminal Convictions
When the application discussed your prior criminal convictions it ask if you have ever been convicted, plead guilty to, or pleaded nolo contender to, or no contest to a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. This sounds simple but it’s not. This federal application says one year, but what it actually means is did you face a charge where you could have been punished with imprisonment for more than two years. In the State of Pennsylvania this would include all offenses graded as an M1 for greater. Most M2s and below would not fit into this category. However if you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence you lose your gun rights forever. Even if it is not an M1 or greater offense. The other big mistake people make with this question is that they might have faced a punishment greater than two years, but received a shorter sentence and may not have gone to jail at all. However the application is not asking what you did receive it is asking what you could have received. If you are unsure you need to stop filling out the application and contact an attorney. Do not ask the gun shop owner as they are not allowed to give you advice, and if you submit the form and it has an incorrect box checked. The next thing you know you have state police knocking on your door with felony charges for you. All denials through the PICS system are reported to the State Police for investigation and they will file charges as they are required to do so. Some people think if they can buy a hunting license they can buy or possess a gun. Absolutely not. That is an old-wives tale that will land you in jail.
If you have a temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) order against you or if you have a PFA hearing and you lose and a PFA is ordered for up to three years you are prohibited from retaining or purchasing firearms for the term of the PFA. PFAs in Pennsylvania can expressly state that your gun rights have been revoked; other PFAs can expressly state that there is no restriction on your gun rights. However, that does not mean that the PFA does not restrict your Federal right to purchase a firearm. If your PFA is active do not attempt to buy or possess firearms.
If you, your son, daughter, loved one in Pennsylvania was arrested for illegally filling out a firearm purchase application in Pennsylvania or has been arrested for any other type of crime in state or federal courts you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.
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