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Defending Felon-in-Possession Gun Charges in Waldorf, Maryland

Under Maryland law, a person’s right to own and possess firearms and ammunition is restricted if they are convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanor charges, like domestic battery. Later, the person can be arrested later and charged if they are caught by law enforcement having or owning firearms/ammunition. These charges are often called felon-in-possession charges. Under Maryland law, felon-in-possession charges are felony charges. If you are convicted, the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison. The minimum is a mandatory of five years in prison for most cases.

However, depending on the facts of your case, there may be several potential criminal defenses that can be used to defeat Maryland State-level felon-in-possession charges. If you have been charged with a gun crime here in Maryland, call us here at the Law Office of Robert Castro at (301) 705-5137. We are seasoned and skilled criminal defense attorneys. Here are some of the potential legal defenses.

Expungement, Juvenile “Convictions,” and Pardons

Under Maryland law, certain crimes can be expunged from your criminal record. These include many misdemeanor charges — those that carry a maximum jail time of two years or less. Expungement can also apply to certain non-violent and “low-level” felony crimes. For a felon-in-possession charge to be made, there must be a prior felony/misdemeanor conviction. This is called the “predicate” conviction. Without a predicate conviction, there is no felon-in-possession crime. If you have had previous convictions expunged, then the expungement will be a legal defense to a felon-in-possession charge. The same can be said if you have received a pardon from the Maryland Governor’s office. A pardon eliminates a conviction for purposes of felon-in-possession charges.

Further, if your conviction was for a crime committed while you were under the age of 18, then — potentially — your “conviction” was not a conviction that created a predicate conviction for a felon-in-possession charge. Generally, Maryland handles juvenile crimes through “adjudications,” which some courts have held are not “convictions” for purposes of felon-in-possession charges. See US v. Walters, 359 F. 3d 340 (US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 2004) (applying Virginia law; could be persuasive to a Maryland court judge).

Other legal defenses

The above potential Maryland criminal defense arguments are based on challenging the underlying predicate conviction. But, there are other potential criminal defenses that talented Maryland criminal defense attorneys can offer. These include:

  • Innocence — you are innocent of the charges; generally, this criminal defense will demonstrate that the accused did not have control over, own, or possess the firearms or ammunition in question
  • Exceptions — there are certain exceptions where a felon can possess firearms/ammunition
  • Constitutional violations — the firearms/ammunition in question can be excluded as evidence if the police committed a violation of the accused’s constitutional protections
  • Police procedural violations — similarly, the firearms/ammunition in question can be excluded as evidence if the police violated proper procedures such as violating the chain of custody protocols
  • Extenuating circumstances — sometimes, a jury can be convinced to render a not-guilty verdict based on extenuating circumstances (such as the need of self-defense or the defense of others)

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301) 705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD, Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD, 20601.