Gun Charges in Maryland and Their Consequences
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 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 Maryland attorney as soon as possible.
If you have been arrested on gun charges in Maryland, let one of our experienced attorneys give you the legal counsel you need today.
Understanding Maryland Handgun Laws
Carrying or Transporting a Handgun and Maryland Concealed Carry Laws
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.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
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.
Maryland EXILE Program
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.
Examples of Gun Crimes
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. An 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.
What Are Your Legal Options?
If you were arrested on gun charges in Maryland, 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.
Illegal search: 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 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.
Contact Houlon Berman
If you or a loved one are facing gun charges in Maryland, a well-crafted defense can prevent years in prison and hefty fines. The attorneys at Houlon Berman are knowledgeable in Maryland handgun laws and have the expertise and experience to win your case.
If you are looking for an experienced firearm attorney in Maryland, Houlon Berman can provide the legal advice you need. Click here to request a consultation.