How to Overcome an Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in North Carolina

In the United States, citizens are guaranteed the right to bear arms; however, this is not an absolute right. It has certain restrictions. If you are charged with possessing a firearm unlawfully, you can face serious consequences. North Carolina laws, as well as federal laws, regulate the sale, possession, and distribution of guns. In some cases, a person can be barred from owning or possessing a firearm.  

Unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, or any other firearm possession charge are serious charges. In North Carolina, you can be charged with a serious misdemeanor or a felony charge that carries a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Any of these charges are put on your permanent record and, therefore, can affect many aspects of your life after you complete your sentence.

If charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, you need to seek legal counsel with a Raleigh gun charge attorney immediately. Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh Attorneys at Law are experienced criminal lawyers who can represent you and fight for your rights. 

Firearm Crimes

What are some of the restrictions on possessing a firearm that would indicate you are outside of the law? When is possessing a firearm a crime?

Here are some of the most common weapon offenses in North Carolina.

Concealed Weapon with No Permit

It is illegal for you to willfully and intentionally carry a concealed weapon on your person outside of your home without a permit. A first offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor and a second charge for carrying a gun or pistol is a Class 1 felony, which carries a jail sentence of 3 to 12 months.

Possession of a Gun by a Felon

It is unlawful in N.C. to be a felon and have possession of a gun. In fact, it is illegal for a convicted felon to purchase, own, or possess a firearm. This charge is a Class G felony, for which the penalty carries a sentence of a minimum 8 months up to a maximum of 47 months in jail.

Possession of a Weapon on School Property

Regardless of whether the weapon is concealed or carried openly, carrying a weapon onto school property or to a school-sponsored extracurricular event is a Class I felony as covered in the General Statute 14-269.2. This includes all public or private schools (elementary, middle, and high school), community colleges, and all public or private colleges and universities. Penalties for someone who brings a weapon into a school building or on school grounds range from a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum of 120 days in jail to a Class G felony with a maximum of 47 months in prison.

Carrying Weapons Where Alcohol is Sold

No one is permitted to bring a firearm or any other weapon to a bar or other establishment where alcohol is sold or consumed, or to a location where admission is charged (for instance, a concert). This offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Purchase or Possession with a Domestic Violence Order

If a person is subject to a domestic violence order, he/she is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition while the order is in effect. Violation of this law is a Class H felony.

When Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Sometimes an innocent individual does not know they aren’t allowed to possess firearms in a certain situation. Even a responsible gun owner can face an unlawful possession charge in North Carolina. If law enforcement thinks you violated a state law or a local ordinance, then you can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. 

When you are a lawful and responsible gun owner, this can be very frustrating and you may think that you shouldn’t face gun possession charges. Arguing with the police is not the thing to do and will not resolve the situation. It is important to contact an experienced Raleigh gun charge attorney at Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh Attorneys at Law. 

How to Fight the Charge

The best way to fight and possibly beat an illegal possession of a firearm or ammunition charge is to retain a reliable, experienced attorney. An experienced Raleigh criminal attorney will know how to delve into your case and develop a specific defense strategy based on the facts of the case.

The answers to the following questions will determine and influence the prosecution’s ability to prove you meet the criteria for unlawfully possessing a firearm.

  • Were you actually in possession of the gun?
  • Was the gun hidden away in a container or in plain view?
  • Was the gun placed somewhere with other identifying items that tie back to you?
  • Did other people have access to the place where the weapon was found?
  • Are there any witnesses?
  • Did the police illegally search and seize the firearm or ammunition?
  • Did you voluntarily consent to a search?
  • Does the prosecution have substantial evidence to prove that you knowingly possessed the weapon or ammunition?

Part of your attorney’s job is to convince the prosecution that you aren’t a risk to the public and that your situation doesn’t give adequate ground or reason for harsh punishment. For example, if you were possessing the gun for a lawful purpose such as hunting, it may be easier to show those things. And, if you used the firearm for the legitimate purpose of self-defense, you may have a defense of necessity.

Other circumstances may result in the prosecution taking a harsher approach. For instance, if you used the firearm in a threatening manner or to commit a crime, your defense will be weakened. If you have been to prison at some point prior to the specific event, the prosecution is more likely to seek prison time for unlawful possession.

The bottom line is that the facts of your individual case determine how your lawyer can effectively convince the prosecutor to discard a gun charge.

Contact Us Today for Defense Against Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

It is of utmost importance to retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in unlawful gun possession to represent you when charged with this crime. Our Raleigh gun charge attorneys and criminal defense team at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh have years of experience fighting for people’s rights. We will give you the attention your case deserves and develop a defense strategy for your specific situation. Call us at (919) 887-8040 or complete our free case review contact form