Massachusetts has strict laws about possessing firearms. You must be properly licensed to carry a gun. Even if you have a license, there may be restrictions on what types of guns you can own, or how you can carry them. In Massachusetts, certain firearms are generally illegal to own based on features that they may have, such as a silencer, or a large capacity magazine. These restrictions themselves are complicated. If there is a question about whether it is allowed, it may be wise to consult with a lawyer before buying a firearm with these features.
If you are discovered with a gun and you are not properly licensed, you may be charged with carrying a firearm without a license under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10(a), which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 18 months in jail. This is one of the more common firearms charges that we see. It is important to fight these charges right from the start to avoid that minimum mandatory jail time.
Like drug possession cases, an experienced attorney will look for flaws in the case in order to file a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress. If the police report does not contain all the necessary elements to support the allegations, a motion to dismiss may be the first step towards beating the case. Perhaps the police violated your rights when they searched you (or your car, or your house, etc.), which would be grounds for a motion to suppress. A successful motion to suppress will result in exclusion of key evidence, making it difficult for the government to prove their case. Even if a motion to suppress is denied, an experienced attorney could find other flaws in the government’s case.
There are many crimes that become “aggravated” crimes due to the presence or use of a firearm or other weapon. This means there are enhanced penalties if a gun is used in the commission of the crime. For instance, breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in the house of corrections. If the same crime is committed while armed with a gun, a conviction carries a mandatory minimum of 2 years, and a maximum term of 10 years in state prison.
Apart from firearms, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10 also encompasses some other dangerous weapons. These include daggers, stilettos, brass knuckles, nunchaku, switch blades, automatic knives, and others. A conviction for possession of a dangerous weapon such as one of these could result in a jail sentence of at least six months in the house of corrections, or two and a half years in state prison, if the defendant was previously convicted of a felony and the judge decides that jail time is appropriate.
I you have been charged with a firearm or weapons offense; you need an experienced attorney to help keep you out of jail. Call today for your free consultation.