Maryland gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. Gun charges in Maryland can have severe consequences. These penalties can be increased further depending on your previous criminal record, the location of the crime, and type of firearm possessed or used. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony weapons charge, you could be facing substantial fines and years of imprisonment. It is important that you obtain legal representation from a knowledgeable Bethesda lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have been arrested on gun charges in Bethesda, let one of our experienced lawyers give you the legal counsel you need today.
At Houlon Berman, we have over 50 years of experience representing clients in criminal matters all over the State of Maryland and in D.C. We take pride in the results we fight for on behalf of our clients and can assist you in any criminal case, regardless of the charges, due to our experienced and dedicated attorneys. Our approach starts with full investigation of the facts of your case in complete consideration of the elements of the offense with an eye toward obtaining the best possible results for you.
Under Md. Code Ann. § 4-203, it is illegal to wear, carry, or transport a handgun (concealed or open) without a valid permit. The code also prohibits carrying or transporting a gun on school property or in a vehicle traveling on a public road, parking lot, waterway, airway, or with the deliberate purpose of injuring or killing another person.
In some circumstances, individuals are permitted to transport guns to and from a legal place of sale, a repair shop, or between residences if the gun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster. These gun transportation laws do not apply to law enforcement officials, active duty service members, or correctional officers.
Illegally carrying a firearm in Maryland is a misdemeanor. Penalties vary depending on the number of previous offenses:
- Penalties for first offenders include up to 3 years in jail and fines ranging from $250 to $2,500.
- A second conviction carries a prison sentence between 1 and 10 years.
- 3 or more convictions requires a minimum of 3 years in prison with sentences up to 10 years.
The use of a firearm during a violent crime or a felony is a misdemeanor and can add up to 20 years to any other sentences imposed.
Gun laws in Maryland prohibit the possession, use, or sale of assault pistols. Under Md. Code Ann. § 4-301, assault pistols are defined as one of the following firearms:
- AA Arms AP-9 semiautomatic pistol
- Bushmaster semiautomatic pistol
- Claridge HI-TEC semiautomatic pistol
- D Max Industries semiautomatic pistol
- Encom MK-IV, MP-9, or MP-45 semiautomatic pistol
- Heckler and Koch semiautomatic SP-89 pistol
- Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol
- Ingram MAC 10/11 semiautomatic pistol and variations including the Partisan Avenger and the SWD Cobray
- Intratec TEC-9/DC-9 semiautomatic pistol in any centerfire variation
- A.W.S. type semiautomatic pistol
- Skorpion semiautomatic pistol
- Spectre double action semiautomatic pistol (Sile, F.I.E., Mitchell)
- UZI semiautomatic pistol
- Weaver Arms semiautomatic Nighthawk pistol
- Wilkinson semiautomatic “Linda” pistol
The penalties for the possession of an illegal firearm are up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
The Maryland EXILE program is a statewide initiative to prevent gun crimes and prosecute repeat offenders. The program is committed to pursuing violent gangs and seeking jail time for both misdemeanor and felony weapons charges. Under EXILE, the State’s Attorney’s Office will consider federal prosecution for gun charges involving drugs, violent crimes, and defendants with prior criminal convictions. Since state and federal prosecutors will also seek pretrial detention in all EXILE cases, it’s important for those charged with gun crimes in Maryland to seek experienced counsel immediately. Click here to learn more about federal gun cases.
The following are examples of crimes under Maryland gun law:
- Use of weapon in school zone: Using or possessing a weapon on school grounds is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
- Unlawful possession of a firearm: A convicted felon or drug user may not possess guns or ammunition of any kind. Unlawful possession of a firearm charge can result in prison time of up to 10 years. Those with 3 or more felony convictions face a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years.
- Possession of unregistered firearm: Possessing any destructive device, including a machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, or silencer can result in 10 years in prison without parole.
However, sometimes there are statutory exceptions that apply to a gun case, or perhaps you accidentally carried your gun from Virginia into Maryland. We will discuss all of the circumstances of your case with you at our free consultation in our Rockville or Greenbelt office.
If you were arrested on gun charges in Bethesda, there are several defenses you can consider. Common defenses include:
- Constructive Possession: An experienced attorney can argue the weapon was not directly under your control. If a weapon was found nearby, but not in your direct possession, this can be a viable defense.
- Statutory Exceptions that apply to a gun case such as transporting to and from a gun range or to and from your work.
- Perhaps you accidentally carried your gun from Virginia, where you lawfully carried it, into Maryland.
We will explore all possibilities with you at our free consultation in our Rockville or Greenbelt office.
If law enforcement officials found a firearm during an unlawful search, your case could be dismissed. Our attorneys will determine if you experienced an unconstitutional search and will work to get your charges dropped.
Each case is unique and our attorneys will examine your case to determine the best defense for your individual situation.
We are experts in 4th Amendment law. Click here to learn more about Search and Seizure Law. Here are samples of some written arguments we have made in the past: D.C. Appeal, Maryland Appeal.
In Bethesda, many firearm cases go to trial, while others reach a resolution in lieu of trial. At Houlon Berman, we take each and every firearm case one by one with an eye toward achieving the best possible result for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys at Houlon Berman have broad experience representing clients successfully in firearm cases in Bethesda. Our success derives from our years of expertise, uncompromising commitment to our clients, and hard work. Our clients receive a robust and aggressive defense in each and every case.
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