Federal Gun Crimes and Firearm Charges

Under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, you have the right to bear arms. You must adhere to state and federal gun laws or risk criminal penalties. Billboards throughout Albuquerque have indicated the local FBI’s importance in prosecuting gun and firearm charges. These billboards state, “Gun Crime equals Federal Time. No parole.” Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda said, “This is not a slogan – it’s a promise.”

With New Mexico law enforcement and government officials taking gun charges so seriously, it has never been more important to protect yourself when facing federal gun crimes and firearm charges. Reach out to our Harrison & Hart, LLC team for a confidential case review today.

What are Federal Firearms Charges?

There are multiple federal gun charges that you could be facing. However, under 18 USC 924 and 18 USC 922, it is against the law to buy, sell, possess, or otherwise use firearms when transported or sold across state lines. Common types of federal firearms charges include:

  • Sale of firearms without a license
  • Selling firearms illegally
  • Illegal possession of a firearm
  • Making false statements while purchasing a firearm
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Possession or use of a gun in a violent crime or while drug trafficking

What’s the Difference Between State and Federal Gun Charges?

Individuals can face charges at the state and federal levels, but there is a significant difference between them. Firearm charges could be increased from the state to the federal level when many firearms are involved, guns are transported across state borders, or other extenuating circumstances apply.

Those who have their cases tried in federal court are far more likely to face harsh criminal penalties. Not only will individuals convicted of federal gun charges face time in federal prisons, but the amount of time they can spend incarcerated will be increased, as will the number of fines they could be ordered to pay.

It is essential to understand that you could face charges at the state and federal levels to know which penalties you face. If you are unsure whether your case will be tried at the state or federal level, do not hesitate to contact your firearm charge attorney to discuss your gun charges.

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Penalties for Gun Charges in New Mexico

The consequences of a conviction for a firearm charge vary depending on the type of gun charge you face. Common penalties associated with federal gun crimes and firearm charges include:

  • Under 18 USC 922(a), if you are convicted of the sale of a firearm without a license, you could spend up to five years in a federal prison
  • If you are convicted of the sale of an illegal firearm, you could spend as much as ten years in a federal prison
  • Under 18 USC 922(a)(6), if you are convicted of making false statements when purchasing a gun, you can spend up to 10 years in a federal prison
  • Under 18 USC 922(o), if you are convicted of the illegal possession of a firearm, you could spend up to 10 years in federal prison
  • If you are convicted of possession of a firearm in a school zone, you could face an additional five years in federal prison
  • Under 18 USC 922(g), you could spend up to 10 years in federal prison if you are convicted of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon
  • Under 18 USC 924(c), if you are convicted of possession or use of a firearm in a violent crime or drug trafficking offense, you could face as much as five years in a federal prison

It should be noted that when facing federal firearms charges, the sentence you face may be prohibited from running concurrently. You could expect to spend considerably longer in federal prison if you are guilty of federal firearm laws.

How Can I Defend Against Gun Charges?

Federal gun charges are some of the most severe criminal offenses you could face. Fortunately, there are several defenses you could use to challenge the charges against you.

Constitutional Rights Violations

One of the most common defenses is arguing constitutional rights violations. If the police did not have a search warrant and conducted an unlawful search and seizure, the charges against you could be reduced or dismissed entirely.

This is because law enforcement has no right to search or seize a weapon unless they have a valid search warrant, or the firearm is considered “in plain view.”

Self Defense

You might also argue that you were acting in self-defense. However, your attorney will need to show that you had reasonable belief that you or someone else was at imminent risk of severe bodily injury or death and that you only used a fair amount of force to protect yourself or someone else from this imminent risk of severe bodily injury or death.

The prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you. Your attorney will be tasked with introducing that reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury and judge so you can obtain a favorable outcome in your case.

Explore your defense options further when you contact your firearms attorney to discuss the circumstances of your case.

Carter B Harrison IV

Attorney & Partner

Nicholas T Hart

Attorney & Partner

Turn to Harrison & Hart, LLC for Help in Your Federal Gun Charges Case

Gun charges and firearm crimes can quickly become federal offenses. Our federal gun charge lawyers at Harrison & Hart, LLC have the experience, knowledge, and compassion you need to clear your name of the charges against you.

Start working on your federal defense strategy as soon as possible. We are ready to hear your case and help you challenge the charges against you at trial. Use our quick contact form or call (505) 295-3261 to learn more about what options may be available to you.

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From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.

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