The defense of firearms and illegal weapons charges can be difficult because these offenses—with the exception of possessing criminal instruments—do not involve the issue of criminal intent. Usually, a prosecutor needs to prove that you acted with criminal intent, also known as men’s rea. But with most weapons charges, the mere possession of the weapon under certain circumstances is enough for the charges to stick.
Fortunately, there are other ways to fend off these charges. Many charges result from the police making a traffic stop and discovering an illegal weapon. In other cases, the police enter a home to conduct a search or apprehend a suspect for one crime but also find evidence of a weapons violation. Your lawyer will need to carefully review the police’s conduct to determine whether they violated your constitutional rights in finding the incriminating weapon.
A prosecutor cannot use evidence in the case against you if it was obtained in violation of your rights. Some examples of illegal searches and seizures of weapons include:
The authorities enter your home without a search warrant, your consent, or qualifying emergency circumstances and find an illegal gun
The police find an illegal gun in your closet when entering your home to execute a search warrant—the police can only collect evidence in plain sight
The police cannot pull your car over without having reason to believe you are doing something illegal
Once they pull you over, the police cannot search your car unless you give them consent or they have probable cause that you are hiding something illegal
When the bulk of the prosecutor’s case is built on such illegal evidence, your lawyer can request the court to dismiss the charges against you. At McKenzie & Tehrani, we have significant experience challenging the prosecution’s evidence-based on constitutional violations. If you’ve been charged with a Maryland firearms violation, Call us today at (301) 309-3669 or cell (240) 604-6405 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.